The rate of growth in retail current value sales of headphones accelerated sharply during 2020, as COVID-19 restrictions led to a huge number of people working or studying for home. Heightened consumer interest in outdoor exercise as a result of the pandemic was also a contributary factor.
Mass TWS (true wireless stereo) earbuds will remain the top performer in headphones during 2021. TWS earbuds are cannibalising wireless earphones at a rapid pace.
With an increasing number of smart devices per person, the goal of the leading manufacturers in headphones, such as Apple, Xiaomi, Huawei and Samsung, is to cross-sell products in order to create an ecosystem of devices that increases product penetration and builds brand loyalty. Marketing activity in headphones is steadily shifting online, with the pandemic accelerating this trend, and there is a growing emphasis on e-commerce, which expanded rapidly during 2020 due to restrictions on movement and the closure of non-essential retail outlets for an extended period.
The rate of growth in retail current value sales of headphones will continue to decelerate over the course of the forecast period. A return to normal working and school life as the threat posed by COVID-19 begins to fade will be the main driver of this.
Mass TWS earbuds will remain the main driver of growth, and by the end of the forecast period, they will account for the just over half of retail volume sales of headphones. TWS earbuds will cannibalise wireless earphones at an accelerated pace during the forecast period.
Having steadily increased its retail volume share in headphones during the review period (particularly in TWS earbuds, where it will rank fourth in 2021), Xiaomi is well placed to continue to expand during the forecast period. Its products are competitively priced (especially in comparison with the leading brands), and local consumers are gradually becoming more familiar with the brand.
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This report originates from Passport, our Headphones research and analysis database.
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