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Wireless Technology Giving More Impetus for Growth in New Segments

Headphones Market Analysis and Commentary

20 Sep 2017 - Futuresource Consulting has published its worldwide headphone quarterly tracker and the latest figures indicated that shipments rose to 80.2 million units in the second quarter of 2017, helping drive retail revenues up 28% year-on-year.

The report's author Zlata Jelisejeva, Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting commented, "Wireless headphones are one of the fastest growth segments, and aid in the development of other related features, particularly noise cancelling." In Q2 2017, the wireless over-ear noise cancelling headphones segment shipped 1.3 million units and grew by 42%. Beats, Sony and Bose drive over 95% of the volumes for this category. At IFA, more brands introduced products and pushed the technology further by introducing new models with adaptive noise control. This feature allows consumers to customise noise levels and also define presets using an app. It provides more control in the hands of the consumers, and Futuresource expects that such flexibility will appeal to applications beyond air travel, for example - for daily commute, during sport and for communication purposes.

The report also assesses the 'true wireless' category, with Apple's presence helping expand this segment; it accounted for 85% of Q2 unit shipments. Apple's reputation brings certain credibility to a segment, and more vendors announced products in Q3 2017, including Sony, Philips, Jam Audio, JBL and B&O. Some vendors have brought out simple products with no defining features and others have packed it with proximity sensors, fitness trackers, whilst some also connect with voice assistants on the phone. The range of features or lack of it will enable penetration in to a larger consumer base, some who would prefer more sporty devices whilst others looking for sleek and classy designs. The average price for true wireless has fallen from $219 in Q2 2016 to $174 in Q2 2017, and it is expected that with growing competition and worldwide shipments projected to soar, >10 million units for 2017, the prices will fall even further by year end.

In this report, Futuresource also continues to map out the market share between the champion headphone brands globally and in terms of volume, Sony, Philips and Apple, are taking a third of worldwide shipments; whilst Beats, Bose and Sony accounted for over a half of worldwide retail revenues.



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