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Global headphones market maintains growth despite challenging conditions

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. 

Volume and value on the up 

“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.” 

True wireless is the form factor of choice 

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. 

Premium headphones capture attention 

“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.” 

For more information on Futuresource Consulting’s headphones quarterly tracker, or to make a purchase, please contact 

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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