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Headphones Shipments Achieve Q1 2019 Revenues of $5.9 Billion

Headphones Market Analysis and Commentary

Consumer appetite for premium headphones continues to grow, with global revenues rising five times faster than shipments in Q1 2019, according to the latest market tracker report from Futuresource Consulting.

“Our Q1 data reveals headphones shipments expanded by nearly 9% year-on-year,” says Adriana Blanco, Senior Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “That’s a success in itself, but the performance was eclipsed by revenue growth of more than 43%, achieving global revenues of $5.9 billion for the quarter.”

True wireless maintained its ascendance, outperforming all other form factors with growth of 223% in units and 188% in value. This has applied upward pressure to the overall in-ear category, resulting in a year-on-year increase of nearly 12% in units and more than 61% in revenue, offsetting the unit decline of other in-ear options.

“The on-ear and over-ear segments both only experienced very slight volume increases year-on-year,” says Blanco, “but the premium end of the over-ear category helped grow the over-ear average price to another high of $126. That’s a year-on-year increase of nearly one third, largely due to the addition of wireless and noise cancelling features. Sony’s WH-1000XM3 and Bose’s QC 35 II are still the best sellers in this segment.”

Wireless headphones grew 40% year-on-year, accounting for 57% of total shipments and 85% of total revenue. Sport headphones accounted for 14% of total headphones, with those priced over $200 showing the strongest growth.

In volume terms, Sony remained the market leader, followed by Apple and JBL. However, for market value, Apple leads the way, followed by Sony and Beats, with the three brands combined accounting for close to 50% of total market revenues.

Looking to country performance, the Netherlands exhibited most growth, at 46% year-on-year. However, China’s 43% growth is much more significant due to its larger volume, which allowed it to progress into the worldwide top five. Strong performances from domestic brands such as Huawei and Xiaomi helped to increase the volume levels.

Recent market stagnation in the USA, Canada, Japan and parts of Western Europe has now been overcome, while Russia, Eastern Europe, India and Asia Pacific continued their strong growth trajectories.

The Futuresource headphones quarterly tracker report provides an update on the worldwide headphones market for Q1 2019, updating the market tracking service which goes back to 2015. Research and collection of data feeds was conducted in Q2 2019, with shipments reported at sell-in. An accompanying detailed spreadsheet breaks out six regions and 11 countries.

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Adriana Blanco

About the author

Adriana Blanco

Adriana joined Futuresource Consulting in 2018 and is a member of the Consumer Electronics research team, focusing on consumer headphones. Her main responsibilities include quarterly tracking of this segment by brand, by type(In-ear, true wireless, on-ear and over-ear) and by region, identifying key trends driving this market and analysing data gathered to develop meaningful market estimates and forecast.

Prior to joining Futuresource Consulting, Adriana spent 18 years at Gartner as a member of the Semiconductor team, focusing on research on the vendor side.

Adriana holds a Bachelor of Science(BSc) in Civil Engineering from the Universidad de Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia, and a MSc in Numerical methods in Engineering from CIMNE in Barcelona, Spain.


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