The continuous advancement of wireless technology and price cuts will make true wireless headsets mainstream in the next two to three years.
Counterpoint’s consumer lens survey shows that Apple is still the preferred brand for future purchases by most US consumers. Apple AirPods is a true true wireless stereo headset that is the preferred brand for future purchases by consumers due to its ease of use, comfortable fit and portability. In addition, Apple is ahead of the competition because consumers prefer real true wireless headsets compared to other forms of wireless headsets. True wireless headphones have the advantages of better sound quality, portability and ease of use.
Our survey also found that nearly 3/5 of the respondents in the United States have a pair of wireless headsets. Nearly half of the respondents purchased/received listening devices a year ago, and nearly 40% of respondents are willing to buy next year. Obviously, true wireless is the future trend. Currently, high-end smartphones do not have a headphone jack, which helps high-end smartphone users to adopt true wireless headsets. This indicates that consumer preferences have shifted from wired to wireless.
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Our track record of the listening device also confirms this shift. In the second quarter of 2019, the sales of true wireless headsets reached 27 million units, a 56% increase from the global market. By the end of 2019, the global market is expected to reach 120 million units. Most of the growth comes from markets such as the US, Europe and China.
Unlike the US smartphone market, which is driven by carrier channels, there are multiple sales channels for listening devices. Online channels dominate the market due to convenience, special promotions, bundled sales and seasonal discounts.
With the increase in shipments of true wireless headsets, the addition of artificial intelligence (AI) to voice technology is becoming a new user interface for many new applications. Nearly half of the respondents surveyed knew about the AI capabilities of listening devices, and one-third of the respondents used this feature in the past. Analysis shows that about 70% of respondents now believe that AI functionality is an important feature of future listening devices, and about 30% of respondents who understand AI functionality may pay for the feature at the next purchase. This shows that AI-enabled listening devices have huge market potential. For the average user, the basic function is the most important. The most frequently used functions of respondents are controlling voice and volume through voice passwords, intelligently eliminating ambient noise, voice search, hands-free calling, and more.