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Consumer headphones market posts 4% revenue growth in shifting global landscape

In 2023, a year that witnessed changing consumer trends and regional shifts in demand, the global headphones market achieved 4% revenue growth. That’s according to the latest worldwide report from Futuresource Consulting, which breaks out six regions and 19 countries, to provide a comprehensive view of the consumer headphones terrain. 

“Despite the economic slump and some saturation in established markets, the headphones market is very much alive and kicking,” says Saranraj Mathivanan, Senior Market Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “Value is up, and consumers are prioritising enhanced features. In among the victories, we did see a marginal decline in volumes, less than half a percent, but our forecasts show this will flip back into the black this year and continue expanding throughout our forecast period.” 

True wireless leads the pack

Futuresource reports that true wireless (TWS) shipments grew by 4% year-on-year in 2023. And while TWS remained the dominant form factor, accounting for two-thirds of the total headphones market, replacement cycles are becoming longer. This is due to advancements in overall battery life, as well as manufacturers prioritising device durability. 

However, with TWS headphones firmly ingrained in consumer lifestyles, Futuresource expects overall demand to maintain its strength across the forecast period, achieving more than 75% share of total headphones volume by 2028. 

Over-ear headphones making waves

“Over-ear headphones also put in a strong annual performance,” says Mathivanan, “with shipments growing by 6% year-on-year. Drilling into the detail, we saw a noticeable upswing in sales during the second half of 2023, as consumers began to focus on comfort, sound quality and advanced active noise cancellation, all key features of this form factor.” 

A show of strength from emerging markets

Futuresource expects Middle East and Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific regions to provide significant future grow over the forecast period. Territories with high economic growth expectations, such as India, Indonesia and Vietnam, are expected to propel market expansion. 

In developed markets, such as North America and Western Europe, where headphones penetration is high, Futuresource anticipates weaker conditions, driven predominantly by replacement sales. With economic recovery projected for the Eastern Europe region, demand for headphones is expected to improve from 2024 onwards. 

Spatial audio on the up

“Moving forward, keep an ear open for spatial audio,” says Mathivanan. “As this feature becomes available at lower price points it will gain plenty of market traction. Previously considered a premium feature, some Chinese smartphone makers have now incorporated it into their lower-priced headphones, which will drive additional expansion.” 

Futuresource calculates that the consumer headphones market will achieve 685 million units in 2028, growing at a CAGR of 4% over the forecast period. 

For more information on Futuresource Consulting’s global headphones report, or to make a purchase, please contact Leon at

Date Published:

Saranraj Mathivanan

About the author

Saranraj Mathivanan

Saranraj is a Senior Market Analyst in the Personal Electronics team. He has about six years of experience in market research and consulting. He is responsible for analysing and reporting trends in consumer electronics such as headphones, hearables and smartphones. In the past, Saran worked with the B2B and Technology teams at Kantar, where he managed and executed more than 80 customised market research projects across various sectors such as e-commerce, technology, logistics, automotive, engineering, etc. Projects he handled included market sizing, competitor analysis, demand estimation, forecasting, and brand equity. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering and an MBA in Marketing & Analytics.


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