The overall consumer headphone/headset market grew rapidly alongside the burgeoning market for personal media players. Key devices, such as the Sony Walkman (tape player) and later the Apple iPod, have driven growth for packaged and after market headphones. The latest boost to the market has come from the increasing use of smartphones as the main media player.
We have found that the overall headphone market reached a peak of 580 million units shipped in 2013 and has been relatively stable for the last few years, however, market unit shipments are expected to be on a downward trend from 2017. This fall is due to a fall in the use of wireless mono headsets and a reducing number of smartphone vendors packaging headsets with their products.
The headphone market continues to develop rapidly, with changing form factor, use case, and technologies. Overall, the move from wired to wireless headphones has been the dominant trend but this is now moving onto the use of sensors to drive differentiation and new use cases.
More than a billion wireless stereo headphones are expected to ship between 2015 and 2020 (inclusive) and total cumulative revenues for wireless stereo headphones are forecast to be > $60 billion from 2015 to 2020. Wireless headphones have become popular globally. The Asia-Pacific region is forecast to see strongest growth of the three main regions, with particularly strong growth in China.