Global smart personal audio market falls 3%, Apple leads

Global smart personal audio shipments fell 3 per cent (year-on-year) to 110 million units in Q3 2023, with developed regions struggling while emerging regions grew strongly.According to Canalys report, TWS made up 73 per cent of shipments, as they continue to penetrate affordable mass-market segments.

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With 23.4 million units and 21 per cent share, Apple led the global market, followed by Samsung and homegrown boAt.

Shipments of wireless headphones surpassed those of wireless earphones for the first time, predominantly due to vendors seeking stronger revenue drivers through wireless headphones and wireless earphones being replaced by TWS.Alternative wearable forms, such as air and bone conduction devices, made up less than 2 per cent of shipments in the third quarter.

“The Q3 decline was partly caused by vendors’ strategic decision to skip yearly flagship releases, effectively extending refresh cycles following vendors prioritising premium models,” said Jack Leathem, Research Analyst.

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In China, one of the fastest-growing players was Huawei, which leveraged its strong smartphone growth to cross-sell ecosystem devices, and consequently grew its shipments by 30 per cent compared with Q3 2022.”We expect growth to return in Q4, driven by replenishing inventories and holiday shopping season deals,” said Leathem.

Improving economic conditions and expected flagship portfolio launches from Apple and Samsung should further boost the market in 2024.

Canalys estimates that total shipments for 2024 will be 3.3 per cent higher than in 2023.