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2020 Tipped to be Watershed Year for Active Noise Cancelling Headphones

Headphones Market Analysis and Commentary

The aftermarket headphones segment continues to attract consumer spend, with 2019 shaping up to be another industry high point, according to a new report from Futuresource Consulting.

“Headphones are calling the tune,” says Adriana Blanco, Senior Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “We expect volumes to be up 11% on 2018, accelerating beyond 420 million shipments this year. Yet, this achievement will be eclipsed by a 37% increase in value, to $31.2 billion, as consumers fix their eyes and ears on the premium end of the market.”

True wireless is cementing its position at the forefront of growth, driving the overall average price up by 23% year-on-year. What’s more, the form factor will account for 30% of in-ear units and 65% of total value.

Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) is also starting to make a noise in the market. Futuresource expects unit growth of 7% year-on-year, accounting for 6% of total headphone volumes.

“A lack of ANC within top-selling true wireless models has been putting the brakes on any real movement, but that’s all about to change,” says Blanco. “Recent launches of popular true wireless models with ANC, such as Sony’s WF-1000XM3 and Apple’s AirPods Pro, along with the launch of Amazon Echo Buds, means the ANC market is primed and ready for vigorous growth. In 2020, we’ll see ANC achieve 62% unit growth.”

Moving forward, Futuresource expects growth in ANC across all form-factors, driven by in-ear products with USB-C connectors, on-ear (Beats Solo Pro) and over-ear models at cheaper price points. By 2023, shipments of true wireless headphones with ANC will outpace over-ear in volume terms, with 18% of true wireless products shipping with ANC features.

The Futuresource Headphones Market report assesses the scale and future growth potential of the market. For further information on this report, please contact Leon Morris via

Date Published:

Adriana Blanco

About the author

Adriana Blanco

Adriana joined Futuresource Consulting in 2018 and is a member of the Consumer Electronics research team, focusing on consumer headphones. Her main responsibilities include quarterly tracking of this segment by brand, by type(In-ear, true wireless, on-ear and over-ear) and by region, identifying key trends driving this market and analysing data gathered to develop meaningful market estimates and forecast.

Prior to joining Futuresource Consulting, Adriana spent 18 years at Gartner as a member of the Semiconductor team, focusing on research on the vendor side.

Adriana holds a Bachelor of Science(BSc) in Civil Engineering from the Universidad de Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia, and a MSc in Numerical methods in Engineering from CIMNE in Barcelona, Spain.


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