The earphones and headphones market was valued at USD 27.83 billion in 2020 and is forecasted to reach USD 51.56 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 10.82% during 2021-2026.
The market is witnessing the high adoption of true wireless headphones among consumers. In 2015, Bragi introduced the concept of true wireless headphones. However, Apple launched its AirPods along with the iPhone 7, which was a grand commercial success in late 2016. The inclusion of active noise canceling, gesture controls, haptics, and biometric monitoring features have changed the headphones market's dynamics. True wireless devices allow the user to answer calls, listen to music, and integrate with hearing aids that help people suffering hearing disorders to hear distinctly, thereby enhancing the overall hearing experience. These devices are expected to provide real-time solutions such as language translation without mobile data, which will work with any smartphone.
Moreover, millennials are three times more likely to watch videos on their mobile devices than baby boomers. Therefore, millennials invest in premium headphones that are compatible with smartphones and handheld portable mobile devices. Hence, changing lifestyles and evolving headphone technology drive the growth of the global earphones and headphones market.
- The addition of health sensors and biometric-monitoring capabilities is likely to transform help headphones into multifunctional gadgets.
- The global ANC headphones market is likely to reach USD 27 billion by 2026 on account of the increasing demand for ANC in hearing protection products and protective communication devices.
- High-growth countries such as China, India, and Brazil provide immense scope for vendors during the forecast period due to the high consumer spend index.
- Significant technological advances in Bluetooth connectivity, infrared, and Wi-Fi technologies are likely to influence the market competitiveness.
- In-ear noise-canceling headphones in Europe are expected to observe the highest ASP due to increased demand for user-controlled sound allowance and augmented reality.
GLOBAL EARPHONES AND HEADPHONES MARKET SEGMENTATION
This research report includes a detailed segmentation by
- Product Type
- Noise Attenuation
- Price Range
INSIGHTS BY PRODUCT TYPE
The adoption of in-ear headphones is growing due to lightweight design and higher portability. These devices are highly popular among excessive users that use them in offices, travel, and during fitness and sports activities. As in-ear models fit securely in the ear and allow users to negate external noise effectively, they have witnessed high popularity among fitness enthusiasts. In terms of revenue, in-ear devices are expected to reach $30 billion by 2026.
On-ear headphones have recently witnessed a rise in demand due to technological advances in features. The application of active noise cancellation capabilities is currently low in on-ear models as they allow sound leakage and passage of external sound due to their design. North America leads the market in terms of revenue and unit shipments. The region is witnessing high collaborations of headphone and earphone manufacturers and celebrities, driving the demand for on-ear devices.
Over-ear headphones are expected to witness steady growth during the forecast period due to advances in manufacturing and audio technology. They are deemed superior in terms of quality, including timber and related sound harmonics and envelopes. However, these devices are expensive, and counterfeiting is a significant challenge faced by over-ear headphones.
INSIGHTS BY END-USER
The growth in the music industry and the popularity of rapping have a positive effect on the adoption of headphones. Headphone manufacturers are collaborating with several music artists and celebrities to launch special edition devices. The growing adoption of smartphones has been pivotal in increasing the penetration of headphones. Advances in devices that can stream audio and video encourage users to invest in high-quality and sophisticated earphones. Music enthusiasts are investing in high-quality, smart, and wireless headphones that are compatible with Bluetooth devices. Smart speakers and earphones offer several features to control ambient sounds and deliver a highly personalized listening experience. Lifecycle changes and replacement demands are the major factors contributing to the entertainment segment.
INSIGHTS BY TECHNOLOGY
Wired headphones have been the leading segment in the global headphones and earphones market for an extended period due to wireless devices’ high cost. However, since 2010, the segment has grown with the increased adoption of wireless headphones among consumers due to manufacturing and audio technology improvements. Mobility remains the largest challenge for wired devices. Although wired devices are rated high on sound quality, wireless ones rank higher in convenience and usability. Wireless earphones provide a high-quality sound experience on par with several premium ranged wired and wireless devices. Termed as “hearables,” modern wireless devices can seamlessly perform as hearing aids, fitness tracker wearables, and speech modulation devices. These factors are increasing their demand among users. Vendors have incorporated innovative technology such as gesture recognition and control, active head tracking, biometric monitoring, 3D surround sound delivery, which is increasing their appeal and acceptance among users.
The global true wireless headphones market is expected to reach $18 billion by 2026. The removal of the headphone jack has driven the market for wireless earphones, which, in turn, paved the way for true wireless models. The increased awareness of true wireless headphones is expected to increase the market share. The availability of features such as sound transparency, ambient noise control, speech elevation, and augmented hearing functionalities are likely to contribute to the adoption of true wireless devices.
INSIGHTS BY NOISE ATTENUATION
The global active noise cancellation (ANC) headphones market has witnessed tremendous growth over the last few years due to the rise in internet penetration and connected devices' popularity. The rising demand for ANC in several audio settings, including hearing aid and protective communication devices, drives the transition of ANC headphones into the hearables segment. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for ANC significantly. As people require to stay indoors during the pandemic, the demand for ANC has increased as they help control environmental distractions. In terms of revenue, passive noise cancellation headphones accounted for a share of over 57% in 2020.
INSIGHTS BY FEATURES
Smart headphones have witnessed major updates and are increasingly becoming convenient. Feature-loaded smart devices redefine the genre of wearables as they are integrating the functionalities and capabilities of electronic devices into an in-ear earbud. The demand for intelligent headphones has grown in recent years as the increasing number of consumers focus on product aesthetics. Since 2016, entertainment and sports have been major end-users witnessing high adoption of these devices. The ability of smart headphones to link with most connected devices is increasing their traction among users, and vendors are trying to position them as the central mode of wearables and connected devices.
In terms of revenue and unit sales, non-smart headphones are likely to witness slow growth. Although an increasing number of users worldwide are adopting smart devices, non-smart ones have a significant consumer base among non-affluent consumers in South Asia and Central Africa. The segment is expected to exhibit a drop-in growth rate, though the revenue will be positive because of the availability and the increasing adoption of technologically advanced wireless headphones. The advent of smart headphones has adversely affected the non-smart device revenues, which will continue during the forecast period.
INSIGHTS BY PRICE RANGE
Apple, Sony, and Samsung (Harman and JBL) offer high-priced headphones. The global premium headphones market is expected to reach over $22 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of over 11%. These devices cost a premium as they integrate hi-tech functionalities such as layered hearing and speech amplification with headphones. North America is expected to emerge as the largest market for premium-range earphones during the forecast period. Moderate-priced devices offer extra functionalities other than streaming music or answering calls. With advances in wireless technology, these devices are integrated with several features. They are mostly manufactured in Asia and are sold via online or local markets. Europe is the largest market for moderate-range headphones. However, the availability of fake or counterfeit headphones is a major challenge faced by the market.
INSIGHTS BY DISTRIBUTION
Headphones are sold retail distribution channels such as specialty stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets, and online stores. Vendors in countries such as the US and the UK primarily sell earphones either in electronic stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets, or online stores.
In 2020, online sales accounted for over 86% of the distribution model, with retail sales accounting for the rest. The entry of electronic manufacturers such as Samsung, Sony, and Apple has increased the sale of headphones through retail stores. Although the trend of selling these devices online has dominated since their inception, a low share of headphones distribution takes place through mass-market players and electronic stores. Online sales are expected to reach 89% by 2026 because these stores offer a variety of options to choose from compared to retail stores.
INSIGHTS BY GEOGRAPHY
Europe and North America are projected to head the global earphones and headphones market share. Europe and North America have been at the forefront of several consumer goods innovations, including electronic devices. Consumers in these regions have shown a keen interest in adopting paid digital audio subscriptions and podcasts. They are also actively engaging in fitness and sports activities. The trend to invest in music and fitness subscriptions generates high sales for head and earphones as essential accessories. The trend of online music streaming is high in Europe and North America, influencing the market growth. The inclusion of smart features such as portable designs, water resistance, advanced sound control, sensors, gesture control, and better battery life is increasing the adoption of smart wireless headphones among consumers.
INSIGHTS BY VENDORS
Bose, Apple, Samsung, Sony, Sennheiser, and Skullcandy are the major vendors in the global earphones and headphones market. The market remains a little concentrated among the leading vendors that account for major revenue shares. The influx of new vendors and tech startups venturing into the audio sector increases overall market competitiveness. Innovations, costs, and convenience play a crucial role in increasing demand. The adoption curve of smart headphones can be predicted by considering the diffusion of innovation of previous new technology products in the region. Partnerships with artists, event organizers, and other end-user application entities are other growth strategies adopted by vendors in recent years.
The global earphones and headphones market research report include in-depth coverage of the industry analysis with revenue and forecast insights for the following segments:
- True Wireless
- Passive Noise Cancellation
- North America
- South Korea
- Latin America
- Middle East & Africa