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Global Headphones Market Achieves 21% Growth in Q2 2021

Consumer demand for headphones continues unabated, with worldwide volumes growing 21% year-on-year in Q2 2021. That’s according to market research and consulting firm Futuresource Consulting, who have delivered over 25 years of strategic advice to clients on all aspects of the Consumer Audio sector. Futuresource’s Headphones Quarterly Tracker reveals a double-digit increase in market value, not as buoyant as volume, yet still enough to generate more than $9 billion for the quarter.

True Wireless Leading the Way

The true wireless (TWS) segment has maintained its leading role, driving market growth as well as capturing share from other segments quarter-on-quarter. According to Futuresource, TWS headphones accounted for more than one in every two shipments in Q2.

A Competitive Marketplace Breeds Innovation

“Competition is hotting up for TWS players, particularly at the low end of the market,” says Arian Bassari, Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “As a result, we’re seeing a groundswell of innovation, particularly in the 50-to-99 dollar range, as brands parade feature-rich products in an attempt to entice consumers. This combination of competition and innovation is driving down prices, with heavy discounting during Prime Day in June further contributing to price erosion in Western Europe and North America.”

According to the latest research, two-thirds of wireless headphones shipped in the quarter were TWS models, while over a quarter included ANC as a feature. Meanwhile, the sports headphones segment is on the wane, experiencing double-digit decline as consumers turn to new generation headphone models that include IPX4 and IPX5 weather ratings, reducing the need for a dedicated pair of sport headphones.

The Noise from the Regions

Futuresource’s Headphones Quarterly Tracker also demonstrated that China and the Rest of Asia-Pacific (excluding India) continued to drive overall market growth, bolstered by post-COVID economic recovery and ongoing product innovations. Both these regions achieved year-on-year growth of 45% in the quarter.

Russia and Eastern Europe also experienced strong growth, though growth in the USA was more subdued, inhibited by a lack of product refreshes from Apple and ongoing issues with chip shortages. In the UK and Rest of Western Europe (excluding France and Germany), the diminishing effects of the pandemic paved the way for growth, with the UK seeing a notable rise.

Apple Maintains Pole Position

“Despite recording a year-on-year loss of brand share, Apple continued to hold the majority of volume in the TWS market,” says Bassari. “Samsung retained its position in second place, supported by sales of its Bud Pro, with older models sold at heavy discounts and bundled with smartphones. Overall, Apple continues to lead the pack on volume and value, with Sony in second position, and Harman brands taking third position for volume share.”

To find out more about Futuresource Consulting’s Headphones Quarterly Tracker, please contact  

 About Futuresource

Futuresource Consulting is a market research and consulting company, providing its clients with expertise in Professional AV, Consumer Electronics, Education Technology, Content & Entertainment, Professional Broadcast and Automotive. Combining strong methodologies and unsurpassed data refinement with in-depth market knowledge and forecasting, Futuresource
deliver the latest insights and technological developments to drive business decision-making. 

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Arian Bassari

About the author

Arian Bassari

Arian joined the Gaming team at Futuresource in 2021 as an analyst, where he conducts research to understand market dynamics and provide data-driven insights.

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