The global true wireless headphones market is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 17% during the period 2019–2025. Music enthusiasts are investing in high-quality earphones that are compatible with portable devices for high-sound quality and enhanced audio experience. Mobile devices have emerged as the preferred medium for consuming online media. Since 2010, the global smartphone market has witnessed unprecedented growth. Smartphone shipments crossed 1.5 billion in 2015 and crossed over 2.0 billion in 2019. Globalization and the increased number of mass media channels have made millennials aware of a wide range of cultures and music genres. About 49% of millennials watch videos on their mobile devices.
Moreover, millennials are three times more likely to watch videos on their mobile devices than baby boomers. Therefore, millennials invest in premium earbuds that are compatible with smartphones and handheld portable mobile devices such as iPods, MP3, and MP4 players. Hence, changing lifestyles are driving the growth of the global true wireless headphones market.
- The smart true wireless headphones market is expected to constitute about over 70% of the market revenue, growing at a CAGR of over 21%.
- The low-range segment is likely to lose its share to moderate-range devices segment on account of the arrival of smart true wireless headphones and affordable moderately priced devices.
- The noise cancelation segment in North America is projected to observe an incremental growth of $3 billion on account of an increase in the spending power of millennials, high adoption of smartphones, and inclination to adopt new technology.
TRUE WIRELESS HEADPHONES MARKET SEGMENTATION
This research report includes a detailed segmentation by features, price range, noise accentuation, distribution channel, and geography.
INSIGHTS BY FEATURES
The demand for smart true wireless headphones has grown in recent years as an increasing number of consumers focus on product aesthetics and add-on features. The sports and fitness segment witnessed an increased application in 2019. The growing adoption of smartphones and other portable connected devices such as tablets and portable music players is a major factor influencing the segment growth. While smart headphones include a slew of features - water resistance, noise cancellation, improved sound format, 3D surround sound technology, storage capacity, they can perform a host of functions other than answering calls and streaming music. These features include gesture recognition, sensors, and biometric recognition. However, the increasing availability of counterfeit and low-quality products can severely hinder the sale of smart headphone brands.
A major factor hindering the growth of the non-smart segment is the competition from the unorganized sector. The addressable market for low-priced true wireless headphones is fast moving toward the low-income group, as the affluent population prefers smart models. The penetration of unorganized sector products is high among the low-income population. Therefore, non-smart true wireless headphone vendors face intense competition, which, in turn, is decreasing profit margins.
INSIGHTS BY NOISE ATTENUATION
Bluetooth has become a preferred choice among OEMs as this technology is increasing the demand for true wireless headphones. Vendors are launching noise attenuating earphones with features that can regulate ambient sounds using active noise control. Most headphone users are aware that non-industrial sounds can affect the hearing. The use of loud volume while listening to the audio on earphones is due to the presence of surrounding sounds that leads to the rise in the adoption of active noise-canceling headphones. Over 16 global vendors are offering true wireless earbuds with noise cancellation capabilities. Hence, the rising demand for noise cancellation in audio settings, including hearing protection products and protective communication devices, is driving the transition of noise-canceling headsets into the hearables segment that includes headphones, hearing augmentation solutions, and commercial headsets.
Notwithstanding the apprehensions that noise-canceling circuitry drain battery rapidly and create interference, the noise isolation segment witnessed substantial growth in 2019. Apple and Jabra were the major noise isolating true wireless headphones vendors. A key restraint for the noise isolation segment is the launch of noise-canceling headphones by Apple. This move has initiated the development of the noise-canceling feature by several established and new vendors worldwide. Thus, the rising adoption of noise-canceling features, as well as a gradual decline in their ASP, is likely to hamper the demand for noise-isolating headsets during the forecast period.
INSIGHTS BY PRICE RANGE
The premium headphones segment is expected to will witness 3 times growth during the forecast period. The segment is adopted by brands such as Bose, Sennheiser, Apple, Sony, and Samsung. The ability of these vendors to integrate premium wireless headphones with hi-tech functionalities such as layered hearing and speech amplification is expected to drive the segment growth. Currently, smart and branded true wireless headphones fall under this segment. Another reason for the surge in the adoption of premium models is that users are finding new affection for these devices. It is estimated that over 3 billion users worldwide will regularly consume audio and video by streaming directly over their phones and other portable devices such as tablets by 2025. This is expected to drive the demand for premium devices as they help to consume media comfortably and discreetly.
The global moderate-range true wireless headphones market is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 20% during the forecast period. The key factor driving the adoption is their ease of use and hassle-free streaming of digital content, coupled with attractive pricing. Innovations in standards of Bluetooth technology are driving moderate range models.
The sale of low-range true wireless headphones will witness a gradual decline owing to low price difference with the medium-range device. The segment’s revenue, on the other hand, is expected to grow because of the availability and increasing adoption of low-range devices in developing countries. The advent of smart earphones as well as affordable, moderately priced brands adversely affects the growth and sales of low range models, and this trend is expected to continue during the forecast period. While vendors are incorporating several features in low-range truly wireless earbuds, the voice quality is not up to the mark.
INSIGHTS BY DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS
True wireless headphones are mainly sold through online channels and retail distribution channels such as specialty stores supermarkets and hypermarkets or mass-market players, and electronic stores. In 2019, online sales accounted for over 82% of the distribution model, with retail sales accounting for the rest. The online channel is the largest distribution channel. It is expected to grow further during the forecast period as smart and innovative earphones are being recognized and accepted as the ideal gift items among consumers in several geographies. Consumers are becoming aware of new and innovative products in the market. Moreover, the adoption of new technologies is increasing across demographics across the globe. Hence, the growth opportunities for headphones are increasing parallelly. Further, the impact of the corona pandemic has led to several vendors in both online and offline channels to slash their prices, and it is likely to continue until the global true wireless market revives.
INSIGHTS BY GEOGRAPHY
The trend of on-demand streaming is driving the sale of headphones in North America. With the growing number of smartphone users and the presence of high-speed internet connectivity, many consumers prefer streaming their favorite music, videos, and podcasts at any place and at any time. The rise in the number of music and video playback applications and the growing number of users that stream music during their daily chores are expected to drive the sales in the region.
Europe is witnessing the adoption of premium, smart headphones at a higher rate. Consumers in Europe are showing an interest in the adoption of paid digital audio subscriptions. They are also actively engaging in fitness and sports activities. The trend to invest in music and fitness subscriptions, as well as in fitness gear, creates opportunities for higher sales. Moreover, the rise in smartphone users, coupled with high internet penetration, is driving the true wireless headphones market in Europe.
The APAC true wireless headphones market is influenced by the increasing penetration of smartphones and rapid urbanization, which increases opportunities for online streaming of audio and video content on smartphones as well as other portable devices such as tablets. With the availability of budget smartphones, higher disposable income, and the increased buying power of the middle-class population, especially in China, South Korea, and India, the sales of smartphones have surged in recent years. This is expected to increase the addressable market for true wireless headphones as a more functional device to hear music while engaging in entertainment and fitness activities.
KEY VENDOR ANALYSIS
A temporary setback and decline in new unit sales are inevitable across major and emerging markets due to the outbreak of the Corona Pandemic. The major impact on the headphones market of the pandemic has been the disruption in component manufacturing and supply as well as the closure of assembly lines, which have hit the overall electronics market. The negative impact and decline in new sales are likely to affect the first half of 2020, with several markets starting to revive by June and July 2020. The market remains a little concentrated among top vendors, enjoying the majority of the revenue and a growing influx of small and mid-sized vendors worldwide, accounting for the remaining share. Variations in demand across the globe and a consistent need for technological enhancement in product offerings are forcing vendors to refine and modify their unique value propositions. Apple, Jabra, Sony, Samsung are the leading market players.
The global true wireless headphones market research report includes in-depth coverage of the industry analysis with revenue and forecast insights for the following segments:
Market Segmentation by Features
By Price Range
By Noise Attenuation
- Noise Isolation
- Noise Cancellation
By Distribution Channel
- E-Commerce Sites
- Vendor Stores & Sites
- Mass-market Players
- Specialty Stores
- Online Music Stores
- Electronic Stores
- North America
- South Korea
- Latin America