Headphones Dominate Audio Market Sales

A newly announced study from SAR Insight & Consulting says that headphone shipments continue to soar.


A newly released study finds headphones dominate audio equipment unit shipments with no end in sight for the category’s dominance.

The study from SAR Insight & Consulting called “Headphone and Headset Forecast DATAbase” estimates that 365 million headphones will ship in 2019.

“The headphone market continues to be one of the most interesting for IC, component and IP vendors,” states Peter Cooney, research director of SAR Insight & Consulting.

“With high volumes and developments that are driving the increased use of advanced technologies, it is certainly one of the main markets to watch.”

Taking a closer look at some of the developments within the headphone category, SAR Insight & Consulting’s data concludes that consumers are overwhelmingly choosing the benefits of Bluetooth to untether themselves from their smart devices and computers:

  • Wireless headphones now account for approximately 70% of headphone shipments
  • “True” wireless stereo earbuds are disrupting the headphone category and shipments of these products continue to grow
  • The shipment of gaming headphones have nearly doubled over the past two years
  • “In-the-box” headphones, or the products bundled with smart devices are losing popularity as original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) look to cut production costs

From a manufacturing perspective, SAR Insight & Consulting notes that headphones have become the second-largest user of all MEMS (Electret Condenser Microphones) microphones shipped in 2019 after the smart-phone companies.

The company adds that the long-term prognosis of the headphone market also looks positive. The market is growing, and as manufacturers continue to advance their products, headphones will continue to dominate audio product sales over the next several years.

CE Pros Choose Trusted Headphone Brands

Focusing specifically on the specialty and custom installation markets, CE Pro revealed in its annual 2019 Brand Analysis report that the Top 100 integration companies prefer to use familiar, trusted headphone companies.

The Brand Analysis finds that for the past couple of years Sennheiser has been the most preferred “go-to” brand for integrators, followed closely by Sony.

Rounding out the five most frequently used brands by integrators are Bowers & Wilkins, Bose and Klipsch.

About the Author

Robert Archer
Robert Archer:

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob has also served as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In his personal time beyond his family, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons and Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Binda Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.