Strategic Analysis of the Global Consumer Headphones Sector Reveals Exponential Growth Opportunities
Opportunities and threats in a dynamic music, sports, and mono bluetooth landscape
The traditional key restraint of the availability of fake and low-quality products continues to weigh on the consumer headphones market across all connectivity modes from corded to traditional Bluetooth to True Wireless for music and sports uses alike. Availability of in-car speaker systems and cheap products reduce the need for mono BT headsets. The meteoric rise of True Wireless earbuds is to some extent cannibalising traditional headphones and mono BT headsets (while adding momentum to the broader consumer portable audio category). The traditional 3.5mm jack is gradually disappearing from smartphones. This trend is boosting Bluetooth headphones and the explosively growing adjacent category of True Wireless headphones. The rapid adoption of True Wireless headphones is contributing to making consumer portable audio as a whole an established mainstream accessory. The present research service covers the global market for consumer (stereo) headphones for music and sports across form factors and connectivity types, including corded, traditional Bluetooth and True Wireless. Some headphones designed for professional applications are included but their volume is low compared to music and sports headphones for personal use. Medical aids are excluded from the scope of this research service. The present research service also covers the global market for consumer mono Bluetooth headsets. UC Mono BT headsets that connect to softphones and software clients on their smartphones are excluded. Music headphones are (stereo) headphones, designed to enable highest-quality sound (and other audio content) consumption. The primary use case is listening to music. Frequently, these headphones also include (multidirectional) microphones that enable them to be used for calls as a secondary application. Music headphones can be corded or cordless, using mainly either cable or Bluetooth connectivity. Music headphones include a range of form factors, including headband, neckband, where some physical element connects the two earpieces, and increasingly entirely cable-free ‘True Wireless’ earbuds. Typically, music consumer headphones are used with mobile devices, tablets, and personal computers. Similar to music headphones, sport headphones are designed to enable high-quality music (and other audio content) consumption. Frequently, these headphones also include (multidirectional) microphones that enable them to be used for calls as a secondary application. What distinguishes sports headphones from music headphones tends to be that they offer additional physical features such as firm grip and water and sweat resistance. Sports headphones equally tend to connect through cable or Bluetooth. Important form factors are wired earbuds, headband and increasing ‘True Wireless’ earbuds. The most common use case for this type of headphones is the operation in conjunction with mobile devices at the time of engagement in sports activities. Mono BT headsets are designed to enable on-the-go connectivity with smartphones via Bluetooth. Traditional user segments for mono Bluetooth have been prosumers and consumers that use mono BT to stay connected with peers, family and friends. This target segment uses the mono Bluetooth headset for both professional and personal use cases interchangeably. Other emerging user segments of mono Bluetooth include truck drivers and industrial workers.