Bluetooth® Innovations, including LE Audio and Channel Sounding, to Accelerate Consumer Market Recovery, Reaching 4.7 Billion Device Shipments by 2028

Innovation within the Bluetooth® consumer market holds the key to post-pandemic recovery, but challenges for certain segments remain
05 Jun 2024

The consumer Bluetooth® market is still facing post-pandemic headwinds as the demand for consumer electronics remains below pandemic levels and large chipset inventories remain. Yet, the market is poised to emerge from its recent slump, aided by LE Audio and Channel Sounding, among other future innovations. Global technology intelligence firm ABI Research expects a tangible increase in demand in the consumer Bluetooth® market by the end of 2024. That demand will continue to reach 4.7 billion Bluetooth®-enabled device shipments in 2028. However, not all consumer Bluetooth® market segments are created equal, and significant disparities within the sector are likely to persist.

“Some Bluetooth® consumer segments are already witnessing strong growth and reassuring stability,” explains David Ball, Research Analyst at ABI Research. Innovation is expected to be a key driver of this growth. Introducing advancements to low-power wireless listening and Auracast broadcast audio capabilities, Bluetooth® Low Energy (LE) Audio is one such example. Alongside longer-term anticipated advancements in data throughput and operation in higher frequency bands, Bluetooth® Channel Sounding, which will equip Bluetooth® devices with high accuracy ranging capabilities, is another promising development for the standard set to arrive in upcoming Bluetooth® specifications. “With high accuracy ranging capabilities well suited for keyless entry and smart tracking applications, channel sounding is expected to stimulate Bluetooth® chipset shipments for automotive access, smart tracking, and indoor positioning applications.” ABI Research expects Bluetooth®-enabled device shipments for personal tracking to experience a CAGR of 8% between 2023 and 2028.

Integration of Bluetooth® with other wireless technologies remains an important dynamic in the Bluetooth® consumer market. Companies that offer the best combination of Bluetooth® innovation with advancements in other wireless technologies are more likely to find broader applications for their products, cut through a competitive consumer market, and deliver on the demands of consumers. Within the wireless audio market, Qualcomm’s S7 Sound Platform combines Bluetooth® and low-power Wi-Fi capabilities in a single chipset, enabling users to switch to Wi-Fi streaming and stay connected beyond the range of Bluetooth®. Efforts undertaken by Amazon, Google, Qualcomm, and Silicon Labs to integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) into Bluetooth®-enabled products are also explored in the report. Meanwhile, the growing availability of Bluetooth® combo and multi-protocol ICs incorporating Wi-Fi, 802.15.4, and UWB technology will create new value propositions.  

Although innovation is heightening the prospects for numerous Bluetooth® consumer market segments, some markets, such as PC accessories, which saw a huge demand spike during the pandemic, have significantly weakened over the last 12 months, compounded by a decline in the broader PC market. Another core challenge to Bluetooth® in consumer markets is competition with other wireless protocols. Ultra-wideband (UWB) is a key contender for Bluetooth® in the consumer market, particularly for keyless entry, smart tracking, access control, and potentially even within audio applications in the future. Ball adds, “It is not as simple as there always being direct competition between the short-range wireless technologies. Bluetooth® will likely be deployed alongside UWB, particularly in products requiring extended range capabilities, while multi-protocol ICs combining the best of all these technologies will continue to flourish.”

Underlined by the prospect of post-pandemic recovery, innovation-led stimulation, and divergent interactions with complementary and competitive wireless protocols, the Bluetooth® consumer market is undergoing a distinct period of flux. “For companies to remain successful within the consumer market, they must be responsive to new opportunities, conscious of evolving challenges, and aware of the disparate dynamics between different Bluetooth® consumer market segments,” Ball concludes.                                                                                                     

These findings are from ABI Research’s Opportunities and Challenges in the Bluetooth® Consumer Market application analysis report. This report is part of the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth® & Wireless Connectivity research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Based on extensive primary interviews, Application Analysis reports present an in-depth analysis of key market trends and factors for a specific technology.

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