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TWS continues to dominate the Bluetooth earbuds market: TMI Report Card March 2022

As the mercury soared in some parts of India, the rain of earbuds and seemed to slow down a little. Unlike February, the launches in these two categories in March seemed to be a bit on the lower side. Yes, there were some launches, but by and large, it was a relatively quieter month. Here are the highlights of the Indian TWS and Bluetooth earbuds market as reported by the TMI team:

Fewer launches

The total number of “hearable” devices (as some refer to them) in March 2022 was 14. This is a third-down from 21 in February. Some say that the opening of offices and markets could have to a reduction in the demand for these devices, which are mostly used at home.

TWS continues to dominate

TWS continues to dominate the Bluetooth earbuds market. In February, of the 21 devices launched, 11 have been TWS, The proportion was even higher in March – of the 14 Bluetooth earbuds launched, 9 were TWS, accounting for 64 per cent of the total launches.

Most in demand in under Rs 2,000

The price segment which saw the most Bluetooth neckbands and TWS launches was the Rs 1000 – Rs 2,000 category, which had a total of six devices, accounting for 43 per cent of the total launches. There were two launches under Rs 1000 as well, which took the total number of devices under Rs 2,000 to 8. Or 57 per cent of all devices launched. Mind you, this is down from 71 per cent in February – when 47 per cent of devices were between Rs 1000 – Rs 2000 and 24 per cent were below Rs 1,000.

A gulf between Rs 3,000 and Rs 10,000

There actually seemed a wide area of the market which was not covered by launches in March. There was only one device launched in the Rs 2,000 – Rs 3,000 category and none launched in the Rs 3,000 – Rs 4,000 category. There were, however, two devices launched in the Rs 4,000 – Rs 10,000 category and three devices in the category above Rs 10,000. But it is so odd that in a market where most devices were priced below Rs 2,000, there were actually as many devices launched above Rs 10,000 as there were between Rs 2,000 – Rs 10,000 – three in each!

A lot of new players

In what is truly a very interesting coincidence, only one of the players who had launched Bluetooth neckbands and TWS in February launched a device in March. This was Lava who launched the Probuds 21. All the other TWS and neckbands were launched by brands that had not made any launches in February.

LG takes the lead

It might be out of the smartphone business but LG is very much alive and kicking in Bluetooth audio. The brand had the most launches – three – in March, launching the high-end Tone-Free FP series of TWS, all of which were priced above Rs 10,000. Actually, LG accounted for all the devices in that price bracket. Mivi launched two neckbands, while OnePlus launched a Bullets Wireless neckband and a new colour variant of its OnePlus Buds Pro TWS.

A month for singular launches

Most brands launched just a single device in March. Notable among these were iQoo and Realme, who launched a single neckband each, and Philips, Boat and Oppo, who each launched one TWS apiece.

Premium prices only for TWS

Interestingly, no neckband that was released in March was priced above Rs 2,000. The OnePlus Bullets Wireless was the most expensive at Rs 1,999. However, TWS prices went all the way up to Rs 29,999 for the LG ToneFree FP9! Interestingly, there was not TWS priced below Rs 1000 in March – there had been the Zeb Sound Bomb from Zebronics in January at Rs 699.

Some big brand activity expected in April

The TWS and Bluetooth earbud space is expected to see some activity from big brands in April, with launches expected from Sennheiser, Redmi, Realme and Oppo, across the price spectrum. India brands like Boat and Noise are also expected to keep releasing budget offerings. Stay tuned

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