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Global wearable, TWS market to hit half a billion units in 2021

Bengaluru : The global shipments of smartphone accessories — wearable bands and TWS devices — are expected to reach half a billion units in 2021 as the Covid-19 pandemic deepened globally, consumers turned their attention to smart wearable and smart hearable accessories, a new report said on Monday.

The wearable bands market will see shipments of 200 million units and the TWS devices shipments is likely to exceed 350 million units next year – and the global smart accessories market is projected to grow at a healthy rate of 32 per cent in 2020, according to a report by market research firm Canalys.

“The pandemic will prolong replacement cycles for smartphones. However, the ‘lipstick effect’ will drive consumers to spend on smaller, less costly items during an economic downturn to meet their buying pleasures,” research analyst Cynthia Chen said in a statement.

Consumers’ attention to health and wellness has increased significantly during the pandemic, which is a great opportunity for wearable devices, such as those from Xiaomi, Garmin, Fitbit and Huami, etc.

Engagement in indoor activities such as remote learning, working from home and home entertainment, as well as outdoor sports and recreation also continued to rise.

“This ushers in greater than expected growth, particularly for TWS headphones, such as those from Apple, Samsung, Jlab and QCY etc,” Chen added.

TWS earbuds are expected to grow 39 per cent in 2021 to reach over 350 million units, much more robust than wearable bands, which are expected to grow at 12 per cent in the same year.

Compared to smartphones, wearable bands and TWS earbud categories will be more resilient against the pandemic.

“Some Chinese players that already have well-established channels are leveraging cross-border e-commerce platforms to reach users and shipping devices directly from China or Hong Kong,” added Chen.

Vendors still need to be on high alert to the possibility of subsequent waves of infection affecting their IoT expansion plans.

“The challenge here is to bring incremental upgrades to ever more affordable devices while ensuring seamless integration that must translate to valuable features to help users in areas such as wellness and smartphone entertainment,” Chen noted.

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