October 12th 2007
IMS Research has tracked the market for Bluetooth technology since its inception, and has recently published the eighth edition of its annual Bluetooth report. In this new report, IMS continues to forecast healthy growth. However, caution should be exercised over the ultimate attach rates of Bluetooth technology in the total cellular handset market. As cellular handsets become more prevalent in less affluent markets, there is a growing demand for low-cost handsets that have only basic functionality. In this particular segment, it is probable that many handsets will not be enabled by Bluetooth technology, and hence the ultimate attach rate of 90% of all handsets globally, which suppliers initially anticipated, is unlikely to be attained.
Despite this, the Bluetooth wireless market has had another astounding year; worldwide Bluetooth-enabled end-equipment shipments are forecast to increase by over 40% from 2006 to 2007, to around 800 million units. Fiona Thomson, Senior Market Research Analyst with IMS Research commented, “This mainstream technology has continued to grab the headlines, despite other technologies such as GPS and WiMax demanding the attention of the wireless industry. With announcements such as an ultra low power version, Bluetooth technology is set to expand its reach and remain at the forefront of manufacturers minds.”
The annual number of Bluetooth-enabled cellular handsets shipped is anticipated to surpass the 500 million unit mark for the first time ever in 2007. Meanwhile, the market for mono headsets continues to thrive, and the market for stereo headsets, although it experienced a couple of false starts, is starting to show promise. The worldwide figures are still low for stereo headsets for a number of reasons including consumer acceptance, stereo headset design/price, and the fact that the other end of the equation (i.e. Bluetooth-enabled personal media players and A2DP-enabled phones) are yet to make a real impact on the market. Once the three of these happen, and IMS Research believes they will over the next 12 - 18 months, then we expect the stereo headset market to really take off. There is likely to be a big push at the end of 2007 and in 2008 but "considerable" worldwide volume won't be reached until 2009 and beyond.
After cellular handsets, the second largest application has historically been Bluetooth headsets. However, in 2007, gaming equipment has become the second largest application in terms of units shipped, with the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii all including Bluetooth (and WiFi).
The IMS Research report entitled, “The Worldwide Market for Bluetooth – 2007” is available to Promoter and Associate members of the Bluetooth SIG for free. Adopter members are entitled to a 25% discount. For more information, please contact Fiona Thomson;
If you would like an interview with an expert in this area, please contact Alison Bogle, Marketing Manager, at
or +1 412-441-1888.