According to WiFore Consulting’s report “Smartphone Market 2016-2020” shows that Apple’s airpods brings the revolution in smart headphone market, the entire smart earphone industry by 2020 will likely become a market of more than 40 billion US dollars.

Revenue (billions of dollars)

Last year, Apple removed the 3.5mm audio jack and released the airpods wireless smart earphone. This series of actions is Apple’s innovative performance, and innovation behind Apple convinced that there is no boundless wireless era, which is the future direction of development.

Most buyers initially buy their products primarily for playing music this feature, but as the quality of other applications increases, we may find people starting to buy music to play this function as a matter of course, and now more focus on other more features.


Mono Bluetooth headset has been declining in the past few years. Below picture predicts the terminal recession for monaural headphones over the next five years.

Mono Bluetooth headset sales (million)

Some people think that there will be a dedicated audio channel for monaural earplugs, citing equipment such as Xperia Ear, Clip or Hint, but has appeared in more and more equipped with these features smart headphones, from the United States Here One AR Headset, the user can adjust the surrounding sound through the headset in real time, you can hear any necessary sound around, and will not damage the quality of music; from the domestic Vinci, users do not need to connect the phone can be independent songs, wake up built-in voice assistant, Check the weather, call the phone, broadcast the weather, monitor the heart rate, based on the depth of learning intelligent music recommendation system, it will be based on your listening habits, real-time heart rate, activities, scenes, accurate and diverse music recommendation. Faced with a variety of features in a smart headset, it is difficult to see why some people are willing to buy limited functionality products. For a product that has matured commercialization, the future trend of mono Bluetooth headset can only be reduced. By 2020, the entire market value is difficult to more than 100 million US dollars.


The next market segment is a hearing aid. Although some manufacturers have come to the end of the road is also trying to trick the whole market, I do not think in the next five years this area will have any major changes. On the contrary, their market may even usher in growth.

The first reason is that they have a very perfect business model that involves audiologists, insurance companies and health services. In the case of providing or subsidizing hearing aids, the manufacturer usually has a ten-year commitment because the hearing loss (this condition) does not disappear. The dilemma of hearing aids is likely to be solved and replaced by smart earphones. Today, the industry believes that only about one in ten people can benefit from hearing aids. In addition, in the new hearing damage of young people in the queue, it is clear that the industry can barely solve the total market demand for 5%.

From 2018 onwards, the new Bluetooth standard is expected to enter the market, more and more hearing aids will begin to update iterations according to it.

To some extent, below picture shows only the number of existing non-Bluetooth hearing aids, because the Bluetooth function is still the entire range of standard features, Bluetooth hearing aids will solve the dilemma of the hearing aid, and bring the whole market growth The These numbers still represent only potential 5% of users will benefit from hearing aids, so the opportunity to increase sales is huge. With the increase in functionality, prices will remain stable, which means that the market value of 2020 close to 13 billion US dollars.


What factors caused Apple made decision with the wireless and publish their own Airpods? They have a huge brand loyalty to consumers, which is beyond iPhone itself. If someone can make earbuds a product that anyone wants, the most likely vendor will be Apple. On this basis, you can see iPhone users will be more and more to buy Airpods, by 2020 will rise to about 4% of users. This data seems to be more conservative, but can not ignore the challenges brought about by this change, Apple still have to solve some obstacles. To make a hypothesis, some users if you keep the iPhone on an annual basis, then use Airpods with an average life expectancy of 30 months. This may be a bit too long, but in fact the audio accessories update rate is much longer than the phone.

Currently forecast iPhone sales in 2020 was 4.27 billion, the corresponding Airpods sales will be 16.7 million.

Apple will not be the only ear plug supplier. When different companies develop new features, there are many different market segments. It is understood that other manufacturers will occupy at least a quarter of the iPhone headset market. Most may come from known brands in the headset market. Interestingly, I do not know whether Apple allows (acquired) Beats to compete with their own Airpods.

Earphone headset sales

Users who use the Andrews system do not have any reason not to join the growth of this industry. But until the second half of 2017, we may not see these models, and this will undoubtedly delay the advance of Andrews market. Samsung already has an IconX earbud, but next to the Airpod, they look quite tired and clumsy. Airpods have set a benchmark; and IconX does not. Some Andrews users will buy Airpods, but can not use Siri, Airpods the value is quite limited, so these users use Andrews mobile phone, the amount of airpods will be very limited.

Another problem with Andrews is that it does not have a particularly good architecture to deal with complex audio applications – it often feels that audio support is like an aftermath to think of it to add a supplement. This is before you break the fragmentation of the Andrews platform. As we have seen above, for the auditory aspect, manufacturers need to seamlessly integrate music streams, concurrency support for voice and control, and the ability to obtain data from biosensors. To make all the features together, you need to control the Android platform for most of today’s mobile phones.

This does not mean that Andrews users do not need earplugs – it just means that the Andrews market may lag behind Apple for about a year. The increase in the number of Android phones means that the number of Andrews will begin in 2019 more than the number of apples. However, for smartphone companies, it is a warning that if they want to test the latest innovations, they need to focus their efforts on the Apple market.


So far, the headset market has been dominated by big brands, according to the main brand data, market forecasts show that the total number of headphones in 2020 about 3.31 billion, of which 14% for the wireless, estimated wireless headphones to get the number of about 46 million equipment. Other analytical institutions, such as SAR insights, are expected to be significantly higher due to their approach to tracking chip shipments, although some of them are used in such products as automotive hands-free kits. SAR insights believe that the number of stereo headphones has almost doubled.

Again, Apple to remove the 3.5mm jack will have a huge impact on the wireless headset market. L & F Capital Management estimates that it could give Beats $ 5 billion in revenue next year. Headphone premiums will rise to 40% in 2020, of which 40% will be wireless, which means that nearly 70 million units will be shipped to iPhone users. Android will gradually transition to wireless, and these overall revenue will be diluted models cheaper, but in 2020 will grow to 2.31 billion units.