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Global headphones market volume contracts by 1.9% in Q32023, value holds strong

The global headphones market volume has dipped 1.9% Y-O-Y in Q32023, Futuresource Consulting’s latest research shows. Despite the decline in volumes, retail value has achieved single-unit growth at 6% Y-O-Y to reach $10.8bn.   

The firm’s latest report attributes value growth to strong sales of both feature-rich products and the 2nd generation AirPods Pro.  

TWS cushions the market 

“Although demand is softening, the ongoing growth of the true wireless sound category is helping cushion the blow,” says Saranraj Mathivanan, Senior Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “TWS is cannibalising other form factors, proving its enduring popularity among consumers.” 

The true wireless sound (TWS) category grew by 5% y-o-y and is growing mostly rapidly in developing countries. APAC is enjoying the largest volume share, representing 39% of total TWS shipments in Q2. 

Price increases keep value high 

“The thirst for quality features is not limited to TWS. ANC is also proving to be a priority for consumers, with the form factor growing by 36% year-on-year. Consumers are reaching towards features like ANC and spatial audio that offer greater quality audio, which also generally carry a bigger price tag.” 

Alongside the appetite for feature-rich products, the cost of raw materials for headphone products has increased, which is also helping drive up prices.  

“The positive reception of the AirPod Pro 2nd Gen and other new generation models from Samsung and Sony have raised the bar for consumers. Unit shipments have taken a hit, but the value of the market is holding strong due to these factors,” says Mathivanan. 

An industry in stasis 

“The industry is feeling the absence of a new, once-in-a-generation feature to reignite volumes,” says Mathivanan. “But brands are reacting to the dearth by pushing quality over quantity, which is helping value remain high.” 

Futuresource’s Headphones Market Tracker provides granular data on the headphones market, with key metrics covering volumes, prices, revenues, brand landscape, are features. To enquire, please get in touch with 

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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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