Reports Music

Headphones Market Shares Apple Takes the Lead

Report by Mark Mulligan
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The 20,000 Foot View:  Headphones are the physical manifestation of streaming music. With the focus of listening shifted from home speakers to smartphones, headphones have become ubiquitous. But, whereas convenience was unchallenged in the early years, consumers have started to place more importance on quality. Headphones have been the clear winner with a highly sophisticated and segmented marketplace having arisen to meet a diversity of user needs and budgets.

Key Findings

  • Only        of consumers do not have a pair of headphones
  • Smartphone listening is the second most widespread listening method at        penetration, behind the car on        and ahead of at home on speakers at       
  • Sony is the most widely owned individual headphone brand, with        of consumers owning a pair
  • However, when Apple’s three headphone brand categories are combined (Earpods, Airpods, Beats) it has the leading market share in headphone ownership, with       
  • The US is the largest headphones market globally with        million headphone owners, followed by the large Latin American countries Mexico and Brazil
  • Beats performs best its US home territory, while Sennheiser only secures a top three ranking in its home territory Germany
  • Panasonic performs well in Japan, Brazil and Mexico
  • Beats owners – and are relatively evenly spread in terms of gender:        are male
  • Apple Earpods have the most female heavy user base –        suggesting that males are slightly more inclined to invest in non-standard headphones
  • Higher-end consumer electronic brands have older, more male owners:        of Bang and Olufsen owners are male,        for Bose,        for Sennheiser and        for BeyerDynamic
  • Music subscribers are most likely to own Apple headphones, followed by Sony on        and then Beats on       
  • Amazon Prime Music users are more likely to own Apple headphones than Apple Music users are

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: AKG, Amazon, Amazon Prime Music, Apple, Apple AirPods, Apple EarPods, Apple Music, Bang and Olufsen, Beats, Betron, BeyerDynamic, Bose, Grado, Jabra, Optoma, Panasonic, Sennheiser, Skull Candy, Sony, Sony Walkman, Spotify, TaoTronics

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