2020 saw an explosion in sales of headphones in the US, as consumers needed these products to work or learn remotely during COVID-19 lockdowns, or wanted better headphones for recreational purposes. Headphones also benefited from the different needs that consumers had when it came to headphones.
Although there are several established players in headphones, such as Apple and Sony Corp, the share of the smallest players, included under “others”, has been increasing steadily year-on-year. In 2021 it approached half of sales, with this share being marginally higher within TWS earbuds.
In 2020, the retail distribution of headphones was impacted by the inability to browse in stores and test products, which led to a significant shift to online sales. Whilst e-commerce already accounted for a significant share of sales in headphones, reaching over half of sales in 2019, the pandemic pushed this share even higher in 2020, exceeding three quarters of volume sales, with the share of e-commerce set to remain at a similar level in 2021, despite the reopening of store-based retailers.
TWS earbuds is expected to see the strongest growth within headphones over the forecast period, with a double-digit CAGR in retail volume terms, and mass products seeing the best performance. Apple was the first player to introduce and stimulate the popularity of TWS earbuds in the market; however, over the years TWS earbuds have become increasingly popular.
Like many consumer electronics, there is always room for headphones to improve as they attract more users. Areas that manufacturers are keen on improving include battery life, noise reduction, durability of the actual earbuds and call range.
However, greater sophistication of these products will lie in the development of AI features integrated in the earbuds. More and more headphones feature voice assistant, allowing users to utilise Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa or Apple Siri whilst using their headphones.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Headphones industry in USA with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Headphones research and analysis database.
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