Bluetooth Headsets Shipments Down Sharply in 2009

Common sense would seem to indicate that with U.S. consumers ever more-dependent on mobile technology, the sale of mobile telephony and mobile media peripherals would be a pretty solid business, even during a broad economic downturn. Not so, according to research firm Strategy Analytics, which is forecasting sales of those oh-so-trendy Bluetooth headsets will be down a massive 28 percent during 2009. Apparently as U.S. consumers tighten their belts, they’re decided that wireless headsets are luxury items rather than necessities.

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“The United States is the world’s largest market for Bluetooth headsets,” said Strategy Analytics director Neil Mawston, in a statement. “Demand for mono headsets has slumped during 2009, although stereo headphones have been more robust.”

Overall, the report forecasts shipments of Bluetooth headsets will totally up to 13.9 million units in the United States during 2009; that’s down from 19.2 million in 2008. If the numbers bear out, they’ll mark the industry’s worst market period since Bluetooth headsets began shipping in any volume way back in 2000. The report does note, however, that stereo Bluetooth headsets are doing better than mono: seems that if folks do decide to splurge on a wireless headset, they at least want to be able to listen to music on it as well as handle voice calls.

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