Alaa Saayed's Blog

Headsets Become a Key Enabler of Desktop Communications

12 Dec 2012 | by Alaa Saayed
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We have just wrapped up our latest Global Office and Contact Center Headset Market study taking a detailed look at the dynamics of a changing market. Primary and secondary information in conjunction with internal information databases have been used to analyze the market and provide strategic insights and conclusions. Here follows a summary of our main findings.


  • The global office and contact center headset market earned revenue of $978.3 million in 2012, a moderate 3.5 percent growth compared to a strong 2011.
  • Tough macro-economic conditions in the Eurozone and other parts of the globe considerably weakened overall sales in 2012.
  • In spite of this, the value and importance of headsets have increased due to the growing need to improve worker productivity, team collaboration, and customer service.
  • The continued growth of unified communications (UC) and PC-based communications has transformed the headset into a key communications tools.
  • Software is gradually becoming a key component of the headset device adding multiple capabilities, which clearly differentiate it from other types of enterprise endpoints.
  • As businesses increasingly acknowledge the key benefits that headsets bring to both end users and IT departments in a new software-based communications environment, demand is expected to grow.
  • Global office and contact center headset sales are expected to follow a smooth growth curve with compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) of 14.0 percent in terms of headset units sold and 12.5 percent in terms of revenue for the 2012-2019 time period.
  • While the contact center headset market is expected to continue to grow at high single-digit growth rates, the key market opportunity remains in the office space with healthy CAGRs of 16.4 percent in terms of unit shipments and 14.7 percent in terms of revenue.
  • Technology advancements and user trends are driving demand for cordless headsets, which account for 27.2 percent of total office and contact center headsets shipped in 2012.
  • While corded headsets continue to be the main choice for many businesses, especially in tough economic times, cordless headset shipments are expected to continue to grow due to the sheer momentum of the mobility revolution and the continued recognition of the benefits of being connected while on the go.
  • UC-enabled headsets will be one of the main growth catalysts of the office and contact center headset market. In 2012, around 2.7 million UC-enabled headsets were shipped, representing 24.3 percent of total office and contact center headset market units sold.
  • UC-enabled headset shipments are expected to grow considerably at a CAGR of 30.0 percent from 2012 to 2019.
  • While headset penetration in the contact center space is almost 100 percent, the penetration of headsets in the office environment is only 7.5 percent and is expected to grow to almost 15 percent at the end of the forecast period.

Businesses are encouraged to explore the new opportunities that these endpoints offer for enterprise workers to perform their jobs more efficiently. Not only are headsets often less expensive than IP desktop phones or other types of hardware devices, but they also offer unique benefits that make them ideal for an ever-changing work environment.

The freedom to use one’s hands while taking a call is an important multitasking facilitator that companies wish to provide to their employees. Headsets allow an ergonomic and comfortable way of having a verbal conversation without the hustle of holding a handset, as well as the ability to engage in PC desktop communications (e.g. webinars, conference calls, etc.) without disturbing nearby colleagues.

Furthermore, as workers become less tethered to their desk, the need to work on the go becomes imperative. Wireless headsets extend corporate communications while providing the user with a hands-free and comfortable calling experience to carry on the business efficiently. Hybrid or multi-use office headsets also exist, offering connectivity with different endpoints as a way to optimize and streamline the communications experience and reduce costs by reducing the number of headsets required.

Finally, with the advancement of unified communications, a primary value proposition of UC is the flexibility to access applications from devices that are most effective for specific tasks and use cases. Today, UC-enabled headsets enable workspace optimization with features such as improved sound quality, background noise reduction, and wearer comfort in a voice over IP (VoIP) call. Some devices go even a step further and offer different levels of integration with the UC application, including remote call control, location and context awareness, communications escalations, and other types capabilities not supported on other types of communications devices.

Enterprise and contact-center managers and IT staff are therefore encouraged to seriously evaluate headsets against other types of enterprise endpoints to address evolving end-user and organizational needs.