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Home audio and headphones markets facing consumer hesitation, but still winning through

The global home audio and headphones markets both experienced challenging conditions in Q3 2022, with a wide range of circumstances applying downward pressure to consumer demand. That’s according to Futuresource Consulting’s latest round of quarterly tracking, which also pinpoints a number of bright spots and opportunities within the markets.

Home audio volumes flat, but value on the rise

“Looking out over the home audio landscape, we’re seeing a period of sustained, subdued consumer activity,” says Christopher Bull, Market Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “Across wireless speakers, soundbars and Hi-Fi systems combined, Q3 volumes remained flat year-on-year, but were kept out of the red by a strong manufacturer-led push for inventory. In value terms, the market experienced a slight expansion, posting 2% year-on-year growth.

“We’re also seeing a gradual resolution of shipping and logistical supply issues, in part aided by lockdowns and social distancing measures coming to an end. There’s also a cooling of demand, which is allowing supply to stabilise. JBL has been the primary brand to capitalise on this stabilisation, boosting its shipments by more than 50%.”

Bluetooth winning out

Bluetooth speakers were the best performing product category in Q3, benefiting greatly from consumers upgrading their purchases.

For consumers looking to buy entry level products, Futuresource notes that people are delaying their purchases, rather than moving below the $100 price point. As a result, the $100+ price segment posted 5% volume growth year-on-year.

True wireless leads the headphones charge

“For the global headphones market, our data feeds show that Q3 posted a year-on-year volume decline of 1.9%,” says Saranraj Mathivanan, Senior Market Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “However, the true wireless category continued to show strength, growing by 14%, and presenting a beacon of opportunity, albeit at the expense of other form factors.

“In terms of retail value, we’re seeing a more positive overall picture, with the market growing by nearly 10%, and product launches in the TWS category from the likes of Apple and Samsung making their mark on the bottom line.”

The word from the regions

Looking to the regions, LATAM and META saw the most value growth, with TWS hitting new highs in developing countries. Futuresource data shows that APAC is the largest region for TWS by volume share, representing 42% of total shipments in Q3.

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Chris Bull

About the author

Chris Bull

Chris is the lead project manager for the Home Audio Quarterly and Market Forecast reports. His reports look at the latest technology developments across Wireless Speakers and Soundbars, and include wider investigations into contextual issues such as Supply Chain analysis and regional variance. He has previously worked on Futuresource’s K-12 mobile PC market services and held panel discussions on esports and computer chip production.

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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