Revenue from headphone sales globally is expected to expand 20 per cent this year to reach $6bn (£3.8bn), up from $5bn in 2011, according to Futuresource Consulting.
"Fuelled by a booming base of portable audiovisually enabled devices including smartphones and tablets, the market for headphones, including in-, on-, and over-ear headsets, will continue to witness strong growth through to 2016, as portable devices become the primary music player for a growing number of consumers," the analyst firm reported.
Futuresource forecasts sales in unit terms of some 260m units in 2012, up from 228m units in 2011.
The market is getting more crowded, it added, but key players are also spending money in an attempt to differentiate their headphones as well as market their individual features and benefits.
Cheap in-ear headphones for around $25 (£15.93) still account for about 60 per cent of total headphones unit sales, the analyst said.
However, high-end over-ear headphones have seen explosive growth, particularly in developed markets. "As a result, average retail price increased eight per cent to reach $22 (£14). Over-ear headphones accounted for 16 per cent of the overall sales in 2011," Futuresource added in its report.
Security firm set to become part of acquisitive Shearwater Group
Distributor merges three northern sites into one new hub in Warrington
Activist investor puts forward five director candidates as turmoil continues at security giant
Nima Green asks what is driving public cloud uptake in Germany