Earphones & headphones now a $13bn-plus market

Central picture courtesy Style.com

Central picture courtesy Style.com

Global shipments of earphones and headphones are expected to reach 336m units by 2016, up from estimated shipments of 324m units this year and reaching a value of over $13bn, according to a new report from Future Market Insights.

Obviously Dolce & Gabbana are doing their bit to add value to the market with their €4,000-plus models. But given the massive number of earphones/headphones that sell at ultra-low ‘value’ price levels, it really shows just how massive the market is in terms of unit volume.

The market divides into personal, gaming, media and entertainment, corporate (mainly call centres), and sports so it’s not all about Consumer X popping a set into their iPhone headphone jack. But as demand for earphones and headphones for personal use is the highest of all the categories, you and I are big drivers of these sales figures.

The personal category accounted for $4.32bn last year and FMI expects that figure to top $5bn next year. How so? Well, robust smartphone and tablet sales in Asia Pacific, combined with proliferation of music streaming services is driving demand.

What does it all mean to society as a whole? Perhaps greater isolation from the outside world. More and more of us shut ourselves off while commuting and do exactly the same when we get into the office too.

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