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Worldwide Headphones Revenue To Hit $8.2B: Study

LONDON — The worldwide A/V headphones market will grow 9 percent this year, according to Futuresource Consulting, with revenue hitting $8.2 billion and 284 million units shipped.

According to the research firm, Beats Electronics captured 23 percent of global revenue. Taking 45 percent of global shipments were five brands that Rasika Iyer, Futuresource research analyst, called “traditional headphones brands”: Philips, Sony, JVC, Sennheiser and Skullcandy.

Rising average selling prices from 2013 to 2017 will cause worldwide retail value to grow 5 percent CAGR. Premium overear headphones, in particular, will grow more quickly than other headphones; this category took up 44 percent of worldwide revenue in 2012, and Futuresource predicted it will grow to 52 percent by 2017.

Rasika Iyer, Futuresource research analyst, told TWICE this category is getting a boost from successful marketing by fashion brands to teens and those in their 20s, as well as Bluetooth headphones.

However, she noted, “Over-ear headphones have a smaller base of units sold as compared to in-ear headphones, and hence an even larger percentage growth may not mean that their volumes are higher than other categories. It is important to note that in volume terms, inear headphones will still account for 52 percent of global shipments by 2017 … Premium over-ear headphones will be dominant from a value perspective, and by 2017, Futuresource expects that this category will account for 54 percent in value.”

Sales for headphones as a whole are expected to flatten by 2017, with one set of headphones accounting for 6.6 audio devices in use. Consumers will share the headphones among a growing number of devices, the firm said, and many will rely on the headphones that come bundled with devices.

Other tidbits from Futuresource:

• Headphones with microphones accounted for 17 percent of worldwide headphones shipments.

• By 2017, 41 percent of headphones shipped will have microphones.

• CE retailers accounted for the largest share of channel sales in 2012, with 38 percent of the market. “Telecoms channels are expected to grow from 2013 onwards as more vendors use mobile specialists to distribute A/V headphones,” Futuresource said.