Following Futuresource's successful launch into the pro audio market with its first professional speakers report, released October 2017, the market research firm announced the release of a second report in the series, focusing on the worldwide microphone market, covering the spectrum of professional products from consumer to broadcast microphones. Futuresource has divided the microphone market into 4 product categories, with 12 sub-segments, and 7 vertical markets.
Microphone replacements and upgrades are driving sales across all four segments (consumer, install, live and broadcast), though technological innovation is creating additional sales opportunities within consumer and install sectors. This is particularly the case in North America, Western Europe and parts of the Asia-Pacific region. The research also reveals that falling prices are impacting on margins.
"It's clear from our research that microphone unit sales and revenues will continue to grow out to 2021 and beyond, but the rates of growth are declining," says Chris McIntyre-Brown, Associate Director at Futuresource Consulting. "We're starting to see signs of market maturation and saturation, particularly within live and broadcast markets, with key areas of the install market following close behind."
Technical Innovation Driving Revenues
Microphone replacements and upgrades are driving sales across all four product segments (consumer, install, live and broadcast), though technological innovation is creating additional sales opportunities within consumer and install sectors. This is particularly the case in North America, Western Europe and parts of the Asia-Pacific region.
"Watch out for solid growth coming from the use of microphones in network environments," says McIntyre-Brown. "This is one of the most important trends in today's microphone market, and one worthy of exploration. With the worlds of AV and IT converging, microphones are connected to networks in a way similar to computers, allowing them to operate over longer distances.
"Digital wireless technologies are also doing their bit to drive market growth, with a range of benefits that include low noise, low distortion, the opportunity for encryption, and enhanced transmission reliability. The market is moving rapidly to the point where microphone buyers can enjoy the convenience of wireless technology without noise or distortion, and at an affordable price."
Looking to the regions, the USA is driving the most value for microphone vendors, closely followed by the Asia Pacific region. Europe lags the two leaders and is experiencing downward pressure from slow economic growth, although Western Europe accounts for the lion's share of the European market and, alongside the USA, continues to drive global microphone market trends. Combined, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa contribute around 10% to global value.
Shure continues to dominate the market, with a substantial lead over Sennheiser and Audio-Technica, who continue to fight it out for second position. Other notable brands include Sony, Beyerdynamic, Bosch Security (including Electro-Voice), AKG and Audix.
McIntyre-Brown adds, "Brands with global microphone revenues less than $35 million accounted for almost half of the market in 2016. Chinese manufacturers are also a significant competitive force. They own the low-end of the market, they make it easier for new competitors to enter and they are expanding their presence. More significantly, these rumblings in the basement could lead to upheavals for manufacturers operating within the mid-tier."
The growing importance of audio and video conferencing within corporations is delivering growth opportunities for microphone vendors. Buyers are demanding better sound quality, the number of meeting rooms per location is on the rise and the use of those meeting rooms for remote conferencing is increasing.
Sales channels are also evolving, with more products being sold online, even high-end professional microphones. "Omnichannel retail, social media and online visibility are all stamping their mark on the microphone segment," says McIntyre-Brown. "In a crowded marketplace, brands need to harness these tools to ensure their long-term success is locked down."
To access a more comprehensive executive summary of this report and purchasing options send an email to Leon Morris.