Pro-Headphones Market Exceeds $540 Million

Broadcast applications are minor but important components

Having achieved global revenues of more than $540 million last year, the professional-headphones market is on track to reach nearly $800 million by 2023, according to a comprehensive new market report from Futuresource Consulting. The survey identified, sized, and analyzed six key verticals by product type: live and rental, DJ, professional studio, home studio, broadcast and communication, and consumer usage.

In particular, the survey found a notable synergy between professional and consumer applications within the broader category.

The professional-headphones market drives and is driven by the consumer side.

“The professional-headphones market is a hunting ground for pro vendors and consumer brands alike,” says James Kirby, market analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “It acts as a gateway for pro-audio vendors to step into the world of consumer headphones, one of the largest consumer-audio markets on the planet. Conversely, for consumer brands, the association with professional equipment gives a boost to brand reputation and acts as a signifier of quality. As a result, we’re seeing a groundswell of activity from both camps, as well as an increasing percentage of audiophile consumers diverting their spend to professional headphones.”

Although each subcategory offers a different level of growth potential and requires its own strategies, the subcategories are deeply interlinked, each providing an important channel of influence, the study concluded. Consumer usage, home studio, and live and rental are the three largest segments by value, accounting for 77% of total revenues in 2018. Along with the DJ market, these segments were responsible for the lion’s share of last year’s 8% revenue growth.

However, a key point of crossover is the gamer market, and the rapid ascent of professional videogames suggests yet another area of growth.

“Consumer usage leads the way, with consumers turning to professional headphones for a number of reasons,” says Kirby, adding, “Gamers are craving a more immersive experience. All this activity has propelled the consumer-usage category to the top spot for professional-headphones sales. We expect consumer usage to continue to climb beyond the forecast period, providing professional-headphones manufacturers with lucrative new areas for growth far into the future.”

In terms of headphone types, most consumer usage relates to over-ear solutions, both open-back and closed, whereas the live and rental market accrues most of its volume and value from professional in-ear monitors. In terms of revenue, custom-molded solutions take by far the highest market share due to their relatively high average selling prices compared with universal-fit in-ear monitors. However, when it comes to market volume, the live market shows similar potential for both types. For content creation, in both professional and home studios, closed-back headphones command by far the majority of spend