A new report from Juniper Research found that the number of hearables in-use (ear-based wearable devices that provide additional on-device functions) will grow to more than 970 million by 2024. This is an increase of 270% over the 260 million estimated for 2020.
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Hearables are Now Premium Audio
The report, Hearables Market: Value Chain Analysis, Future Features & Market Size 2020-2024, found that two groups of vendors in particular are leveraging hearable technology to add value to premium audio products. Companies such as Bose and Sennheiser are integrating hearable technology into headphones, while technology companies, like Apple, Google and Samsung, are producing earbuds that incorporate sensor platforms and AI capabilities. Apple’s AirPods have so far dominated the space and made hearable technology desirable. This premium image will make hearables into a $135 billion industry by 2024.
The Impact on the Hearing Aid Sector
The ability of hearables to use AI to filter out some sounds and enhance others is a double-edged sword for established hearing aid manufacturers. Whilst it improves their product offer, it also introduces a whole new set of competitors. Companies that can sell directly to consumers, such as Nuheara, have a strong opportunity here. Another factor to consider is the short term impact of COVID-19 on the hearing aid market; in-house personal fitting is currently not possible and is forecast to slow growth by up to 20% in some markets.
“Movement restrictions will severely impact professionally-fitted assistive hearables in 2020,” remarked research author James Moar. “However, these digital capabilities are increasingly common in hearing aids in general, so assistive hearables will recover rapidly as hearing aid demand picks up again.”
As a result, hearing-enhancing hearables will be the second-most lucrative hearables segment, worth over $63 billion by 2024, while shipping less than 20% of the market’s units.
Juniper Research provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector; providing consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary.