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A new report by Juniper Research predicts hearable devices in use will grow from their current level of 43 million, to 285 million by 2022. This represents a nearly sevenfold increase.
The Future Hearables: Strategies, Opportunities & Forecasts 2017-2022 study highlights the trend towards wireless audio. The retirement of the 3.5mm jack will push the average cost of regular headphones up, bringing them more in line with prices of hearables. This will make the jump to the more expensive option less painful for consumers, particularly as hearables offer much more than just audio.
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Audio will, of course, remain an important feature. The report forecasts that hearables focused on providing audio will comprise over 50% of the market between 2017 and 2022. But more than just audio, these devices will be an important platform for digital assistants such as Siri or Alexa.
Biometric or fitness headphones are expected to remain an important category. These are buds that keeps tabs on your heart rate, steps, distance traveled, calories burned and more. Some smart earbuds even claim to be able to track brain waves through EEG and provide real-time feedback about focus, stress, sleep patterns, and relaxation.
There is, of course, the assistive wearables category. These are earbuds which amplify or adjust what the user hears. It is this category that will generate the most revenue (around 68% of the sector in 2022), as such devices typically retail for over $1,500. The price may come down, though, due to competition from over the counter devices that bring hearing enhancement rather than medical hearing correction.
“While the hearables category began in fitness, it is now much broader”, said research author James Moar.
“Being able to adjust your hearing appeals to many more people, and will ultimately destigmatise hearing aids and enrich the lives of many with hearing loss.”
As hearables grow in popularity, new market entrants are expected to gain market share. Juniper, however, forecasts that large tech firms like Apple and Google will continue to dominate the category.
Source: Juniper Research
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