Canalys has released a new report predicting that personal audio will be the fastest-growing category of smart devices over the next few years, but smartphones will maintain their position as the leading smart device.
According to the analysts, 3 billion smart devices will be shipped globally in 2023, up from 2.4 billion in 2019. Half of those will be smartphones, 1.5 billion, showing a small but consistent growth (meanwhile, PCs, laptops and tablets will decline).
The next largest category will be smart personal audio. This includes everything from true wireless headsets (TWS) to over ear headphones. With 726 million units predicted to ship in 2023, these are the next big thing.
In the short term, Canalys expects personal audio shipments to reach 490 million units this year, a growth of 32.1% compared to last year. Check out the chart below – the horizontal axis represents the 2019 to 2020 growth, the vertical axis tracks the long-term development from 2018 to 2023.
Larger audio gadgets – smart speakers – will be the second fastest-growing category. With a 21.7% increase in shipments, makers are expected to move 150 million units this year. By 2023 smart speakers will be almost as popular as smart bands.
It seems that Apple has found its next iPod. The AirPod and Watch business is expected to surpass Mac and iPad revenue by the end of this year. However, Canalys points out that Apple will have to fend off other makers, which are trying to penetrated its unified ecosystem of devices and provide a similarly seamless experience.