COVID-19 IMPACT SURVEY MAY 2020
The global market for Wireless Headphones is projected to reach US$9.1 billion by 2025, driven by the astounding rise in smartphone ownership supported largely by technology usage rates in emerging economies. Access to 4G is today almost ubiquitous in both developing and developed countries. Smartphone penetration has virtually hit saturation in developed countries. Taking the United States as a case in point, the number of smartphone users in the country in the year 2019 was an estimated 270.3 million, and when juxtaposed with the country's population at 329. 8 million shows a penetration rate of over 82%. In developing countries, penetration rates are continuing to grow at robust double digit rates supported by falling mobile voice and data tariff rates; robust investments in 4G mobile networks; falling semiconductor prices and declining cost of smartphones; rising popularity of ultra-low cost smartphones; rapidly evolving app ecosystem; and digitalizing of lifestyles.
Against this backdrop of a robust outlook for smartphones, allied markets are also benefiting including smartphone accessories such as battery, headphone, earphone, portable speaker, charger, memory card, protective case, power bank, and battery case, among others. With the average smartphone today doubling up as a music player, TV, and a gaming device, headphones and earphones have assumed new significance in modern life. From on-ear headphones, in-ear headphones to wireless headphones, this category has witnessed rapid evolution over the years. High quality stereo speakers, headsets with amplifiers, noise-canceling technology that blocks background noise, surround sound headphones that provide a 360-degree sound-field, are few of the notable innovations in this field. In additional to multimedia entertainment applications, headphones are also growing in popularity and value for hand-free operation of the phone such as hands-free call answering that enhances user safety and productivity. Wireless headphones, also known as stereo Bluetooth headphones offer numerous benefits such as freedom from wired clutter; eliminates the hassles of needing auxiliary input cables to output audio; superior quality streaming sound provided by new generation Bluetooth chips; and low battery power consumption, among others. A key revenue generating trend in the market is the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) assistant in headphones. Top manufacturers such as Sony, Bose, JBL, Bang & Olufsen are launching headphones that support Google Assistant. Amazon Alexa Headphones and Echo Buds are also popular for their intelligent voice search capabilities. The United States and Europe represent large markets worldwide with a combined share of 52.3% of the market. China ranks as the fastest growing market with a CAGR of 9.5% over the analysis period supported by the fact that over 63% of the Chinese population today uses a smartphone. The ongoing Chinese product consumerism will continue to fuel the trend supported by the expanding middle class population and its ravenous appetite for digital electronics and luxury products. Shift in employment opportunities from low-paying traditional manufacturing jobs and higher paying jobs in technology and service industries, rise of e-commerce, and successful reforms aimed at migrating the Chinese economy from a planned socialistic economy to a free market economy, are all factors fueling China's growth.