Portable consumer electronics: Bluetooth connectivity drives the market


bluetooth-speakerlBluetooth connectivity is one of the most significant growth drivers for portable consumer electronics in Western Europe. Data published by GfK show that in the first half of 2014 consumer spending on Bluetooth-enabled radios and docking speakers was more than twice the value reported in the same period of the previous year. Considering more in detail the different products, docking speakers which transmit audio content from smartphones and other devices via Bluetooth or traditional physical docking options continued to be extremely popular in Western Europe. In the first half of 2014, consumer spending on speakers of this kind amounted to € 211 million, which represents an increase in revenue of almost 46% on the previous year. Overall, 83% of all docking speakers that were sold between January and June 2014 featured integrated Bluetooth technology. The sales volume of headphones and mobile stereo headsets was stable, at 17.3 million units in the first half of 2014. Owing to a positive price development, value revenue improved by 3.7%. The major growth drivers between January and June 2014 were the markets for wired in-ear models (which fit more deeply in the ear canal and therefore block out passive noise more effectively – revenue +18%), and for Bluetooth stereo headphones and headsets (revenue +54%). Instead, the market situation for MP3 and MP4 players continues to be difficult in the face of competitive pressure from smartphones.
As regards to camcorders, over the first half of 2014 almost 50% of all revenue were attributable to action cams, with a strong upward trend. In a year-on-year comparison, they achieved revenue growth of more than 45%. Both value and volume revenue in Germany increased by more than 70%.
Finally, in the first half of 2014, the market in Western Europe for in-car electronics suffered a drop in revenue of 9%, which means the revenue decline has slowed down quite considerably. The German market is the most stable, with revenue only decreasing by 4%. Devices with a built-in Bluetooth function which makes it possible to wirelessly connect smartphones continue to provide a ray of hope. This technology is now integrated in around one in four car audio devices being sold. The revenue share attributable to this segment is 37%.
Considering the portable navigation devices, the situation continues to be complex, but a slight improvement is becoming noticeable. In the first half of 2014, the market saw an 11.3% decline in volume revenue while value revenue fell by 8%. The markets have particularly suffered in Southern European countries. However, positive developments are apparent in Germany and the UK. Despite a decrease in volume revenue of 5%, value revenue in Germany remained stable.