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Digital Music & Speakers

Updated: Jun 22, 2018

Years ago, the Apple iPod unleashed an evolution of the music industry and consumer audio devices. The evolution continues to expand with the advent of smartphones and wireless streaming.



Years ago, the Apple iPod unleashed an evolution of the music industry and consumer audio devices. The evolution continues to expand with the advent of smartphones and wireless streaming. Streaming from the Internet to a smartphone has gained wide market acceptance, with access to almost any track, tune or symphony nearly replacing downloads to a device.

Pandora and Spotify are the pioneers in the market while industry giants are carving out their niche such as Beats, Apple, Microsoft on Xbox and Google. Streaming services operate on relatively low margins and need scale to sustain the business model, so expect that with time there will be a few clear winners in this market.

Listening to music on a headset is great for an individual on the go, but not great at home or for a shared, social experience. Docking a device to a speaker or connecting wirelessly by Bluetooth is now being complemented with direct WiFi streaming. WiFi is now ubiquitously available and speakers can directly connect to the streaming service, eliminating the smartphone as a relay point.

Relevant Market Forecasts

  • Research and Markets: Total revenue of the wireless audio device market is expected to grow at an estimated CAGR of 24.02% from 2013 to 2018 to reach to $13.75 billion by 2018.

  • IMS Research: Over 60 million audio devices will ship with WiFi and/or Bluetooth connectivity in 2016, including AV Receivers, speaker docks, home theater in a box (HTiB) systems, and soundbars. The majority of the devices will be speaker docks and sound bars.

  • ABI Research: The number of paying streaming-music customers was 29 million in 2013; the market is projected to reach 191 million worldwide by the 2019.

  • Nielsen: First-quarter 2013 study found device owners aged 18-34 are the most likely to stream tunes from the radio using their smartphones.

Speakers are not only Bluetooth and WiFi enabled; they are portable and can produce higher quality sound with faster streaming data rates. All major brands are starting to produce a range of speakers; headphones, portable mini-speakers, and sound bars to stay relevant the market and service the needs that range from audiophiles to casual listeners.

Markets are continuously changing. Consumer expectations adjust to new products and more choices. Innovation is necessary. N³ Innovation can help you evaluate market trends and stay relevant to future customers. Contact us today.