Earphones: Wired or Wireless

This Monday, I had a debate with a friend about an interesting topic. Now it’s 2023, are you one of the wired earphone users or a Bluetooth headphone fan?

The attracting point is that with the advancement of wireless headset technology, the convenience it brings to daily users is gradually occupying the sales market of wired earphones. But clearly, the two are still not perfect substitutes for each other. At least in 2022, we still have 10 unavoidable considerations of reasons for wired headphones, especially for avid music lovers and professionals who are seeking for sound quality. The simplest touch, for both average price and repair cost, wired earphones are lower than wireless ones. As rational consumers in the market, we have to take care of our wallets.

While, for mainstream users, a more comfortable and convenient wearing experience has a higher priority than sound quality and absolute stability of connection. With the dramatic development of mobile phones and other smart devices capable with Bluetooth technology, the demand in audio using have been much wider than in the past. Besides listening to music, we need phone calls, watching videos, playing games, audiobooks, and so on. As long as turning on audio, we can use earphones. Relatively, it is not obvious to see the help of sound quality on improving the daily experience, but, considering consumer preferences of AirPods, the convenience and “cool” appearances brought by wireless is immediate and unambiguous.

In fact, in 2016, when Apple announced that the new iPhone was about to do away with the 3.5mm headphone jack that was standard on smartphones, a June survey (2016) in the U.S. showed that most people still preferred wired headphones. Wired headphones account for 83% of unit sales, compared to just 17% for wireless ones. However, it is undeniable that although the unit sales of wireless earphones are much lower than that of wired earphones, their revenue accounts for 54%, surpassing that of wired earphones. At the moment nearly 7 years ago, that was already a signal that wireless headphones would become a popular trend in the future, but not a necessity instead of using wired ones. Conversely, when AirPods are already everywhere, will “old school” become a new trend? The nostalgia of wired headphones will lead to a comeback.

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