As corona-hit India remained locked down for months and with most of the routine activities — work, education and entertainment — shifting inside home, wireless earphones have emerged as the biggest connect. As all activities of families take place under one roof — office, school classes, and TV viewing — earphones and headphones have ensured that conversation of one meeting does not crash into the other. According to estimates of research firm IDC, demand for earphones hit an all-time high in July-September with sales at over 10 million units — a 260% y-o-y growth in shipments (2.7 million previously).
Such is the craze for TWS, or the small wireless buds, that the category registered a massive 723% growth in the period, according to research agency Counterpoint. TWS now contributes almost 40% to earphone volumes (with sales at close to 4 million), and has products ranging from Apple’s Airpods Pro (Rs 25,000), Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live (Rs 12,000) and JBL’s Live (Rs 10,000) at the premium-end to Boat, Xiaomi, Realme at the mass level.
Homegrown brand Boat led the TWS category. “Being an Indian brand, Boat understands the requirement of millennials,” Boat co-founder Aman Gupta said.
“After the lockdown, there has been a phenomenal growth, the number of headphones per household has gone up,” Vikram Kher, VP (lifestyle consumer audio) at Harman India (that owns JBL), told TOI. Harman’s lifestyle audio business has doubled its revenue in headphones. “Specifically, for TWS segment, we are inching towards almost 10 times the revenue from last year,” Kher said.
Mohandeep Singh, senior VP at Samsung India, said apart from work and education, even socialising is happening online. A fall in average price of TWS devices due to more smartphone OEMs getting into the market has also led to overall growth.
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