The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has released its annual market update, which highlights the growing footprint of Bluetooth technology in an increasing variety of applications across numerous markets. From wireless audio and wearable devices to asset tracking and network lighting control, innovative solutions from Bluetooth SIG member companies continue to meet the needs of consumer, commercial, and industrial use cases. The trends identified in this year’s market update highlight the direction and influence of Bluetooth technology.

Bluetooth device shipments expected to grow by nearly 50% over next 5 years

While 2020 proved to be a turbulent year for many global markets, by 2021, Bluetooth markets began quickly bouncing back toward pre-pandemic levels. In fact, in 2022, analysts expect to see a faster recovery from the pandemic than initially predicted. Analysts anticipate that annual shipments of Bluetooth enabled devices will see 1.5x growth over the next five years, exceeding 7 billion by 2026.

Audio Streaming expected to remain largest Bluetooth solution area

The upcoming release of Bluetooth LE Audio is expected to strengthen the largest Bluetooth solution area, Audio Streaming. By enabling higher audio quality, lower power consumption, and new audio experiences such as broadcast audio, LE Audio will enable audio developers to meet increasing consumer performance demands across the audio peripheral market, including speakers, headsets, and earbuds. By 2026, annual Bluetooth® earbud shipments will climb to 619 million, making up 66 percent of all wireless headsets.

LE Audio will also enable new types of audio peripherals — such as a wider range of Bluetooth® enabled hearing aids — and allow greater flexibility for better form factors. As a result, a 2.6x growth in annual Bluetooth hearable device shipments is expected by 2026.

Bluetooth Location Services forecasted to be the fastest growing solution area

Recent global supply chain disruptions combined with improved performance of Bluetooth positioning capabilities are driving increased demand for Bluetooth Location Services. Bluetooth RSSI, direction finding, and soon, high-accuracy distance measurement capabilities position Bluetooth technology to deliver the reliability and flexibility developers need to create a wide range of higher accuracy location services solutions. Analysts forecast a 3x increase in annual Bluetooth Location Services device shipments by 2026.

As this year’s report details, analysts predict that real time locating systems (RTLS) such as those for asset tracking will be the major drivers behind this continued growth. Commercial RTLS systems, including those in healthcare, account for the largest volume of location services device shipments this year, and analysts expect 350 million Bluetooth asset tracking devices to ship annually by 2026.

“Every year, the Bluetooth SIG member community works hard to deliver innovations that improve the capabilities of Bluetooth technology and help shape new market trends,” commented Mark Powell, CEO at Bluetooth SIG. “The forecasts in the 2022 Bluetooth Market Update reflect the tireless work of the many Bluetooth SIG members who are developing innovations that create a more connected world.”