The consumer love affair with headphones continues to flourish, with new research from Futuresource Consulting showing the global market achieved both volume and value growth during Q4 2022. That’s despite a number of challenges impacting the wider CE market.
“We’re seeing a demonstration of remarkable market resilience from the global headphones aftermarket,” says Saranraj Mathivanan, Senior Market Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “According to our latest market tracker, and despite the headwinds, headphones achieved 1.4% volume growth in Q4, alongside value growth that exceeded 10%. Much of this value growth can be attributed to heightened input, manufacturing and shipping costs, which have placed upward pressure on the average selling price.”
Futuresource notes that true wireless (TWS) continues to capture market share, providing the majority of Q4 growth. The form factor achieved 12% volume expansion in Q4, surging ahead of other options and causing them to diminish.
As more players entered the TWS arena, the market leader, Apple, witnessed a slight volume dip of 2%. This was due to some customers diverting their attentions to value-for-money audio brands such as Skullcandy and JLab, which both achieved strong volume growth. In contrast, JBL experienced a decline in volume. Chinese smartphone brands Oppo, OnePlus, Realme and Vivo also achieved impressive growth rates, in contrast to Xiaomi’s relatively poor quarterly performance.
Despite the surge in competition and its dip in volume, Apple still managed to post 9% value growth for the quarter, fuelled by booming sales of its premium AirPods Pro 2nd Gen offering.
“There is no doubt that headphones continue to hold a place in people’s hearts,” says Mathivanan. “Our research shows that consumers are still willing to spend big, with the most year-on-year growth coming from the $200+ category. This is being driven by premium models from Apple, Samsung and Sony, resulting in the category growing from 23 million units in Q4 2021 to 41 million units in Q4 2022.”
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