COVID-19 and the resulting pandemic effectively shifted growth in Bluetooth annual device shipments out by one year, with some markets, including wearables and locating systems, expected to experience substantial growth. Despite the shift, updated forecasts in the 2021 Bluetooth Market Update released by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) predict that annual Bluetooth enabled device shipments will increase from four billion last year to more than six billion by 2025.
Though few markets were untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic, some Bluetooth markets found opportunities to grow. Healthcare environments relying on Bluetooth medical devices and solutions to minimize exposure and improve patient care increased over last year, with an additional projected 5x growth in Bluetooth healthcare location services implementations expected by 2025. The global transition to work from home drove growth in Bluetooth PC accessories, with 153 million Bluetooth PC accessories shipped in 2020, exceeding last year’s forecast by 10 percent. And an increased focus on health and wellness grew demand for Bluetooth wearables, with an expected 205 million Bluetooth wearables expected to ship in 2021. Additionally, due to strong interest in safe return solutions, a sizeable increase in Bluetooth real-time locating system (RTLS) deployments is expected with a projected 516,000 implementations by 2025.
“We are all very proud of how the Bluetooth member community rose to the challenges of 2020, and appreciate that so many members are working tirelessly to develop innovations that help manage the pandemic,” commented Mark Powell, CEO, Bluetooth SIG. “This rally to help is the latest example of our community bringing innovators together for a common cause — to develop technology advancements that create a safer, more connected world.”
With the support of a committed member community of more than 36,000 companies, Bluetooth technology has met growing wireless innovation demands for more than 20 years. With data from ABI Research, the 2021 Bluetooth Market Update highlights key trends in solution areas enabled by Bluetooth technology, including:
Annual shipments of Bluetooth wearables and PC accessories will outpace pre-pandemic forecasts
In 2020, the global shift to work from home drove growth in Bluetooth PC accessories, while an increased focus on health and wellness, combined with telehealth requirements during the pandemic, grew demand for Bluetooth wearables more than 5 percent over previous forecasts. Data transfer device shipments are expected to experience a 1.7x growth in annual shipments through to 2025.
Bluetooth location services devices will rebound and trend upward over the next five years
The onset of COVID-19 and resulting travel and work restrictions led to a short-term reduction in Bluetooth location services deployments. However, thanks to continued interest in asset tracking and indoor positioning use cases, analysts expect Bluetooth location services growth to rebound by the end of 2021 and achieve a 32 percent CAGR through 2025. In addition, an expected 5x growth in Bluetooth healthcare location services implementations is expected by 2025.
LE Audio will drive significant volume and use case growth for the future
The completion of the LE Audio specifications in 2021 will further strengthen the Bluetooth ecosystem and drive greater demand for Bluetooth earbuds and speakers, resulting in 1.5x growth in annual shipments from 2021 through 2025. Bluetooth® Audio Sharing will increase accessibility for people with hearing loss – which numbers nearly half a billion people today – and become the modern, high-quality, low-cost assistive listening system (ALS).
Bluetooth commercial connected lighting gains mainstream traction
Primarily focused on supporting building automation, control, and operational efficiency, Bluetooth device networks remained largely resilient during the pandemic. Proliferation of LEDs, as well as greater energy efficiency, faster deployment capabilities, and a higher quality occupant experience are driving the demand for commercial connected lighting solutions, with an expected $19.1 billion revenue expected by 2029. Commercial connected lighting, along with smart home solutions, are behind device networks being the fastest growing Bluetooth solution area with a 34 percent compound annual growth rate over the next five years.