Bluetooth announces flat year due to pandemic

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has released its 2021 Bluetooth Market Update today, showing that its annual device shipments growth has shifted out by one year thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some markets, such as its wearables and locating systems, were expected to experience substantial growth. Despite the shift, the report predicts that annual Bluetooth enabled device shipments will increase from four billion last year to more than six billion by 2025.

Almost all Bluetooth markets were affected by the global pandemic, but markets such as healthcare experienced growth. Healthcare environments have been relying on Bluetooth medical devices and solutions to minimise exposure and improve patient care over the last year, with an additional projected five times growth in Bluetooth healthcare locations services implementations expected in 2025.

The new work from home trend encouraged through global lockdowns has driven growth in Bluetooth PC accessories, with 153 million Bluetooth PC accessories shipped in 2020, exceeding last year’s forecast by 10%.

There was also an increased focus on health and wellness which in turn grew demand for Bluetooth wearables. It is expected that 205 million Bluetooth wearables will ship this year. Additionally, due to a 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.

These growth drivers increased demand for Bluetooth wearables by more than 5% over previous forecasts. Data transfer device shipments are also expected to experience a 1.7x growth in annual shipments through to 2025.

The completion of LE Audio specifications in 2021 is predicted to further strengthen the Bluetooth ecosystem and drive greater demand for Bluetooth speakers and earbuds, resulting in a 1.5x growth in annual shipments from this year through 2025. Bluetooth Audio Sharing will increase accessibility for people with hearing loss and become a modern, high-quality, low-cost assistive listening system (ALS).

CEO of Bluetooth SIG, Mark Powell commented on the news: “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.

“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.”

Bluetooth now has over 36,000 companies spread evenly across all regions of the world using the technology, with over 6 billion Bluetooth devices to be shipped by 2025.

A copy of the full report can be downloaded here