The Future of Sound Is Wireless

Peter Hartmann, Jabra’s director of Product Management, examines why demand for wireless audio accessories is growing.



The demand for wireless accessories shows no signs of slowing down, with recent studies by market analysts such as IMS Research predicting that Bluetooth headsets will surpass the 45 million unit mark by 2015.

Our market data indicates tremendous growth globally in Bluetooth speakers. This is a category which didn’t exist two years ago and now it’s experiencing year-on-year growth rates of approximately 300 per cent in North America and EMEA and around 100 per cent in Asia-Pacific. So, there’s no doubting the fact that wireless is the way forward.

The growing demand for wireless accessories could be attributed to the fact that, today, smartphone and tablet users depend on their devices for a multitude of activities, with browsing the internet, interacting on social media platforms, listening to music and playing games being the most popular. Interactive television is also gaining ground, as consumers adopt a wider variety of devices to satisfy their insatiable desire to connect.

However, as the focus on screen resolution and processing power intensifies, audio quality has been largely neglected. So, with the increased consumption of multimedia via numerous mobile devices comes a greater demand for wireless headsets and speakers that give users a much better sound experience, as well as the freedom to take their music where they want to.

We have noticed several trends among wireless accessory consumers. More people are listening to music on portable devices and there is a marked trend towards music streaming. This was confirmed in recent research conducted by Nielsen, which indicates that more teenagers are listening to music streamed through YouTube than through any other source.

We’re also seeing significant growth in the active user market, as consumers are becoming more health-conscious. Fitness enthusiasts want to be accompanied by their music while exercising, without getting caught up in cables.

Customers demand simplicity, ease of use and freedom of movement. Wireless accessories allow them to listen and talk hands-free while at home, commuting, in the office, relaxing or working out.

In Jabra’s own market surveys, consumers have also identified audio quality, durability and comfort as well as brand credibility as the key factors in determining their choice of audio accessory.

And the most common challenges associated with wireless accessories are poor sound quality and the complexity of pairing Bluetooth-enabled devices.

Audio accessories is a highly competitive market. However, Jabra is one of the few brands exclusively focused on hands-free and audio accessories and our strength lies in our ability to develop products that can be used across different technology platforms.