SEOUL, Dec. 11 (Yonhap) — Samsung Electronics Co.’s share in the global wireless earphone market dropped slightly in the third quarter of the year, a report showed Friday, as more consumers lean toward cheaper products amid the pandemic.

Samsung accounted for 5 percent of the global truly wireless stereo (TWS) product shipments in the July-September period, down 1 percentage point from the previous three months, according to market tracer Counterpoint Research.

Apple Inc. remained the top wireless earphone vendor in the third quarter, but its market share plunged 6 percentage points from the previous quarter to 29 percent. A year ago, the U.S. tech giant’s market share stood at 47 percent.

No. 2 player Xiaomi Corp. narrowed the gap with Apple after it gained a market share of 13 percent, up 3 percentage points from a quarter earlier. Of the top 10 best-selling wireless earphones in the third quarter, four were from Xiaomi.

Counterpoint Research said market shares of premium brands have dropped as more consumers decided to go with mid-range and budget products amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wireless earphones priced below US$100 accounted for 56 percent of the global TWS product shipments in the third quarter, up 8 percentage points from a quarter earlier. It is the first time that sub-$100 products represented more than half of the market.

For all of 2020, Counterpoint Research said the global wireless earphone market is expected to grow up to 220 million units, nearly double from last year’s 130 million units.

It added that growth in China, India and South America, as well as year-end promotions, will push up the overall sales of wireless earphones.