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Now that hybrid work arrangements have become the new normal, people want audio accessories that ensure optimal listening sessions as they run around the house doing the laundry or break sweat on their evening runs. True wireless earbuds are the answer. They belong to the category of ‘hearables’, which consists of technically advanced in-ear devices designed for various purposes, from communicating and listening to audio and video media, to medical monitoring and fitness tracking.

True wireless earphones are different from ‘wireless earphones’. Wireless earphones are connected in some way, such as an over-ear stereo headphone or behind the neck. True wireless earphones do not have a cable between the earpieces. Both wireless and true wireless earphones make use of Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth wireless earbuds use radio waves to connect to multiple devices at the same time.

The age of true wireless earbuds is here

High-quality true wireless earbuds have better sound and microphone quality than comparable on-ear wired headphones. They may also produce spatial sound for fully immersive music and gaming experiences.

True wireless earbuds that sell well meet many of the expectations of consumers switching over from their wireless or wired earphones. For example, consumers appreciate two-ear calls that allow seamless switching between music and calls, which is available on the best true wireless earbuds, including Airegal SES6. And although noise cancellation is generally better on wired headsets, the ‘Smart Listening’ mode on Sony WF-1000X switches from active noise cancellation mode to ambient mode depending on your activity. This is a particularly useful feature for those who prefer peace and quiet.

If you were to make a list of the benefits you want from your true wireless earbuds, you would keep coming back to add something new. Surveys reveal that consumers want their earbuds to ‘do more’, as discussed below.

Survey: Consumers want more sophisticated features on earbuds

A recent independent survey by Audio Analytic, a provider of sound recognition software, reveals that consumers want more immersive audio experiences and intelligent responses from their earbuds. 63% of respondents said they would want their next earbuds to intelligently adjust settings on their behalf, with the number rising to 69% among respondents earning more than $35,000 in the US and £30,000 in the UK.

Apart from audio quality, convenience and user experience are important drivers of consumers’ purchase decision. Manufacturers and retailers have to move quickly to satisfy these needs, especially given how quickly consumers replace their earbuds. A survey by Sapio Research of people who own true wireless earbuds in the UK and USA found that nearly two-thirds of respondents planned to buy a new pair of Bluetooth wireless earbuds in the coming 12 months.

Sellers can consider partnering with a reliable manufacturer who has the production expertise and resources to make custom wireless earbuds. Bringing out true wireless earbuds in new designs and with new capabilities is essential to long-term business growth and sustainability.

Survey: Interest in true wireless earbuds is growing

A 2020 survey of hearable users in the UK by global market research company Counterpoint found that, among those who only had wireless hearables, 70% were interested in buying true wireless earphones in the future. Among users who use both wired and wireless earphones, 60% were interested in true wireless. On the other hand, interest in purchasing true wireless earphones dropped to 44% in users who only had wired earphones.

Despite the differences in interest among various segments of hearable users, the survey indicates that true wireless earbuds are viewed favorably. Manufacturers and retailers have the opportunity to understand consumer preferences more closely. For example, perceptions around comfort and functionality can help determine a design that may resonate with more users. While true wireless earphones offer freedom of movement, how they fit in the ear canal matters a great deal. Users generally prefer their earbuds to fit snugly and remain in place while they’re on the move. Moreover, the earbuds should be lightweight to prevent fatigue and ensure comfort when used for hours together.

Market research: Bluetooth wireless earbuds poised for strong growth

In 2019, the global earphones market was worth $25.1 billion, and is expected to grow at a rate of 20.3% between 2020 and 2027. Apart from the reasons discussed previously, increasing internet penetration and mobile phone ownership in developing countries, along with a fast-growing global middle class are fueling the demand for premium electronics. There’s also the small fact that the 3.5mm earphone jack is gradually disappearing from smartphones, leading consumers towards Bluetooth wireless earbuds. The recent Polaris Market research predicts that the true wireless earbuds market will reach $14.51 billion by 2028.

Manufacturers and sellers can capitalize on the demand and make their mark in a thriving market with a consumer-focused attitude. It will be important to answer the question: What are the expectations of consumers desiring the latest gadgets and having the purchasing power to buy advanced electronics products? Possible answers are:

Audio excellence: According to the 2020 Qualcomm State of Play Report, sound quality is the most important driver for consumer audio products.

Bluetooth LE Audio: People want the ability to connect their earbuds to multiple devices at the same time.

Smart features: Automatic adjustments without user intervention, support for head gestures and voice commands, fast charging

Manufacturers are racing to set themselves apart from the pack. Apple is no longer the dominant force, and new players from the US and China are emerging to making the true wireless earbuds markets truly competitive and exciting.

The global pandemic forced millions of people worldwide to work remotely. Working from home meant that they needed to attend to more voice and video calls than ever before. Consumers will be looking for earbuds and audio devices that provide clear sound and glitch-free voice quality.

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