Headphone Market Continues to Celebrate Growth

May 1 2015, 03:10
Futuresource Consulting has just completed its latest round of research into the headphones market. According to its new report, worldwide shipments of headphones grew by 8.5% in 2014 to 309.5 million units. The majority of headphones sold are in-ear models (60%) and wireless headphones are the fastest growing category.

The report also found that, despite average retail price only growing by 4% in 2014, less than the growth in 2013, the trade value of shipments grew by 12%, generating revenues worth $9.4 billion. This is partly due to the falling cost to include certain features.

Despite increasing fragmentation in the headphones market, Sony, Philips, and JVC continue to secure the top three market positions, accounting for 31% of worldwide shipments. There is growing competition, notably from Apple Earpods, with a 5% worldwide volume share, and Beats by Dre, which has grown in volume by leveraging Apple’s strong distribution networks. 

Futuresource Consulting has also analyzed the different features and types of headphones emerging on the market within this new report. It notes that microphones have become a common feature across all types of headphones, especially as the ownership of mobile devices continues to grow. In 2014, headphones with microphones grew by 58%, to account for 36% of worldwide shipments. 

In-ear headphones accounted for the lion share, 60% of worldwide shipments, with the inclusion of new features helping to drive growth in this segment. 

During 2014, many brands introduced Bluetooth headphones to meet the growing demand of music on the go. This segment is forecast to increase over the coming years, with wireless headphones likely to account for 21% of worldwide shipments by 2018.

Sport headphones was another big area, with many headphone vendors introducing different designs for comfortable grip around the ears. We are seeing strong competition from specialist headphone manufacturers in this area, including Yurbuds, Jaybird, Jabra, and Parrot.

“The demand for headphones is increasing, especially as consumers are using their mobile devices for a plethora of content on the go, whether that’s whilst commuting to work, running, cycling, or simply walking into town,” Simon Bryant , Associate Director Consumer Electronics, Futuresource Consulting. “We are also seeing an increase in demand for more sophisticated features, which is increasing value and driving more sales for the vendors. In the coming months, we will likely see an increased presence from specialist vendors, which can add unique features.”
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