The global true wireless headphones market size was valued at USD 9.22 billion in 2023. It is estimated to reach USD 39.38 billion by 2032, growing at a CAGR of 19.9% during the forecast period (2024–2032).
True wireless headphones have standalone left and right earpieces that can connect with smart devices. These headphones use Bluetooth to connect with mobile devices like smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other smart devices in a home setting. They also have voice assistant features, data storage, and a charging case. The term true wireless comes from the design aspect, as these headphones do not use wires for charging or for maintaining a connection between the right and left earpieces. True wireless headphones belong to a set of hearables designed and developed to include features more than just transmitting sound. They are packed with technologies to manipulate sounds and deliver an enhanced listening experience to users.
|Market Size||USD 42.86 billion by 2031|
|Fastest Growing Market||Europe|
|Largest Market||North America|
|Report Coverage||Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends|
Headphone manufacturers have tested and adopted different technologies to reduce or block contextual noises to provide users with a better and more immersive listening experience. These advancements in audio technologies are active noise cancellation and passive noise cancellation technologies. Active noise cancellation technology identifies unwanted ambient sounds and emits other sounds to counterbalance them. It can be effective against continuous mechanical noise. However, it is not designed to cancel other variable noises, such as conversations.
On the other hand, passive noise cancellation technology is represented by IEMs, which physically obstruct the ear canal to block incoming noises. These technological developments also bear witness to the centrality of the surrounding context to the experience of mobile listeners. With the launch of the AirPods Pro with its advanced features, such as transparency mode with ANC, Apple has pushed true wireless headphones to the mainstream, and the market is likely to witness a rising demand for noise-canceling headphones during the forecast period.
The functionality to initiate and access virtual assistants opens a wider range for true wireless headphones. These devices can now use the language translation skills of virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Google Translate to offer users real-time language translation. Many IT firms have been working on devices and applications to translate languages in real-time. This enables them to provide users the ability to converse and understand foreign languages while working or traveling. Several companies have created language translation websites, applications, and devices. Popular language translators for mobile applications include Google, Microsoft, iTranslate, SayHi, WayGo, TripLingo, Speak and Translate, and Papago.
True wireless headphone manufacturers have developed real-time, network- and network-free language translation features. Some businesses have also developed mobile apps that improve the usability of these language-translating gadgets. A wearable language-translating gadget with two earpieces designed for speakers was introduced by Waverly Labs in 2016. Similar to real wireless headphones, this gadget was. Waverly Labs just added music streaming capabilities to its product.
Similarly, Google has recently relaunched its Pixel Buds range of true wireless headphones with real-time language translation technology that can identify nearly 40 languages and help users communicate with speakers of other languages. It will also enable consumers to use conjugations and look up the meanings of words. Such features create demand for true wireless headphones among consumers traveling frequently and conversing with people in different languages.
The growing prominence of counterfeit and duplicate products is a major factor hindering the sales of smart true wireless headphones. The market revenue plummeted as many leading manufacturers lost their market share, penetration, and revenue due to the presence of counterfeit products that are cheaper and resemble the original ones. In addition, the audio solutions industry has been actively battling piracy over the past few years. However, despite several attempts to combat the proliferation of counterfeit products, the efforts have had a limited impact.
The online market is inundated with local and global headphone manufacturers. Figuring out the difference between original and pirated or fake headphones becomes extremely difficult. With the growing demand for mobile accessories and music streaming services, the need for headphones is also increasing. Local manufacturers with inexpensive product offerings are capturing the market share of leading vendors, which hinders market growth.
The rise in lifestyle-related illnesses, the consumption of unhealthy foods, and harmful lifestyle choices have all contributed to the significant expansion that the global health and wellness business has experienced in recent years. This, in turn, has led to a rise in the number of diabetic and obese individuals globally. Therefore, people are enrolling in gyms and fitness clubs. In addition, the growing health-conscious population and awareness of the benefits of exercise are prompting individuals to join fitness clubs. Asia-Pacific's top 14 fitness industry markets had over 26,000 fitness clubs, with a total membership of over 23 million. Countries with the largest number of health clubs are South Korea, Japan, and India.
Regarding revenues from health and fitness clubs, the top three countries are China, Japan, and Australia. The statistics also present several countries' potential in Asia-Pacific regarding club memberships and the adoption of suitable headphones. India is one of the niche markets and is expected to have a high potential due to its population of 1.30 billion people. With a mere 0.15% of Indians purchasing memberships, India has one of the lowest membership penetration rates in Asia-Pacific. In India, about 86% of the population is below the age of 55, and 60% are in the age group of 15–54 years, which is the most potential group for fitness club memberships. Therefore, they are also potential users of sports wireless headphones, as people use them while running or working out to keep themselves motivated.
Based on region, the global true wireless headphones market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa.
North America is the most significant global true wireless headphones market shareholder and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 17.5% during the forecast period. The US is a leading market for true wireless headphones in North America. It is commonly believed that members of the digital generation, particularly millennials, currently control most of the market. They are technologically savvy, with the majority of them addicted to their smartphones. In addition, the largest working population in both the US and Canada is made up of millennials. In Canada, 37% of the total workforce comprises millennials. Moreover, the growing internet users and music-based mobile applications are driving the truly wireless headphones market in the region.
Europe is predicted to exhibit a CAGR of 18.4% during the forecast period. Europe has been at the forefront of several innovations in consumer goods, including electronics and fashion trends. The region is also witnessing an increase in the adoption of premium and smart headphones, including true wireless headphones, which are being adopted at a higher rate. In addition, Europe consumers are showing an interest in the adoption of paid digital audio subscriptions. They are taking part in sports and fitness activities actively. Increased sales of true wireless headphones as indispensable accessories are also made possible by the trend toward investing in music and fitness subscriptions and exercise equipment.
Asia-Pacific is fast emerging as a powerhouse in the global market, indicating unprecedented growth for true wireless headphones. The region constitutes several emerging economies where headphone users are starting to differentiate among headphone variants. It is steadily becoming a fact that consumers in Asia-Pacific are shopping for purpose-specific products while engaging in entertainment or sports activities, thereby driving the demand for true wireless headphone variants.
In Latin America, consumers are more inclined toward online streaming, and the country is expected to emerge as the leader in online streaming during the forecast period. For instance, the preference for a particular music track in Latin America can lead to a snowball effect wherein the USers will continue to share and stream the track over an extended period. Therefore, streaming is gaining popularity because of the increased mobile devices and improved internet penetration. Therefore, these factors will likely contribute to the demand for true wireless headphones as they offer several functionalities, including streaming music.
The global true wireless headphones market is bifurcated into Type, Product Type, Price Range, Application, Distribution Channel.
Based on type, the global true wireless headphones market is segmented into smart and non-smart.
The smart segment is the largest contributor to the market and is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 24.2% over the forecast period. Smart true wireless headphones are built with the latest technology, including water resistance, noise cancellation, improved sound format, 3D surround sound technologies, storage capacity, and several other innovations. These headphones can perform a host of functions other than answering calls and streaming music using Bluetooth technology. They have advanced features like gesture recognition, sensors, and biometric recognition. The increasing availability of counterfeit and low-quality products severely hinders the sale of smart headphone brands.
Additionally, the demand for smart true wireless headphones has grown as consumers focus on product aesthetics and add-on features. The major application areas, such as sports and fitness, witnessed a rising use of true wireless headphones in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The rising smartphone and other portable device adoption, such as tablets and portable music players, such as the iPod, is also a major factor influencing the market growth.
Based on product type, the global true wireless headphones market is segmented into In–ear, On-ear, Over the Ear, and Others. In 2023, the in-ear true wireless headphones accounted the highest market share in global true wireless headphones market. They are frequently utilized for a variety of purposes, including general day-to-day use, commuting, and exercise. Their small, compact shape ensures a tight fit and exceptional noise isolation by fitting snuggly into the ear canal. This makes them ideal for usage when moving and engaging in active activities. In-ear models are also usually preferred for their discreet appearance.
Based on price range, the global true wireless headphones market is segmented into Premium Range (>USD 150), Mid Range (USD 50 - USD150), and Low Range (<50 USD)
The premium range segment owns the highest market share and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 19.6% over the forecast period. The premium range includes true wireless headphones priced at over USD 180. Top-quality headphones manufactured by major players such as Bose, Sennheiser, Apple, Sony, and Samsung (including Harman and JBL) are generally high-priced variants. Moreover, vendors integrating their true wireless models with hi-tech functionalities, such as layered hearing and speech amplification, fall under this segment.
Furthermore, the adoption of premium range headphones is witnessing a higher rate because premium true wireless headphones have placed a notch above standard headphones. These models offer features comparable to over-ear models, with the slight exception of the soundstage, which premium true wireless headphones make up for by their tiny size and comfort. Premium true wireless headphones carry a lot of brand value in both developed and developing markets, which allows vendors to put a premium price tag on these models.
Based on distribution channels, the global true wireless headphones market is segmented into online and offline.
The online segment is the highest contributor to the market and is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 19.5% over the forecast period. The segment includes e-commerce platforms and online music stores. The e-commerce platforms covers online retailers like Amazon, eBay, JD.com, and Alibaba. These include the vendor's websites and online headphone specialty stores such as Headphone Zone. Moreover, the adoption of new technologies is increasing across demographics across the globe. Hence, the growth opportunities for headphones are increasing parallelly.