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NEWS


July/August 2021 ertonline.co.uk


Headphones sales soared during lockdown


12 H


eadphones stood out as the top tech product purchased during lockdown, with nearly a third of consumers indicating that they spent more than they usually would pre-pandemic.


This is according to a new Audio Tech Lifestyles survey from Futuresource


Consulting, carried out across the UK, USA, Germany, Japan and China. Although True Wireless headphones (TWS) and wired in-ear headphones


both had the highest ownership, consumers favour TWS over other form factors for regular use. Looking to the territories, markets such as the USA and China witnessed high levels of ownership of TWS headsets. “TWS is rising to the top, proving itself as the go-to form factor for a whole


range of activities,” said Saranraj Mathivanan, Senior Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “Our research shows people are choosing TWS for commuting, music listening and working from home. Even during airplane travel, which was once a safe harbour for over-ear headphones. “What’s more, TWS headphones have a quicker replacement rate in


comparison to most other form factors, most likely because it’s the preferred design for use across multiple applications.” TWS owners are tech-savvy and driven to own the latest technology. As a


result, many are choosing to match their headphones with their brand of smartphone to benefit from the seamless ecosystem experience. When purchasing headphones, audio quality was the primary


consideration for consumers, taking precedence over price. Other key purchase triggers included brand, connectivity, reviews and design.


Intent to purchase Looking to the future, over a third of people who intend to buy headphones are looking to buy TWS within the next 12 months, cannibalising sales of other form factors. “Nearly half of headphone users are willing to spend more than before on


headphones,” continued Mr Mathivanan, “with a substantial share of respondents also telling us they are likely to spend more than $200. “With working from home becoming a long-term reality for many, around


15 per cent of respondents are planning to purchase new headphones that they can use for both personal as well as professional purposes,” he went on. “We’re seeing this over-index in some markets as well as amongst younger consumers. A similar number of respondents are looking to buy gaming headphones that could also be used for working from home too.”


Find out more on the latest consumer trends in the headphones market with ERT’s special feature from page 28 of this issue…


A continuous upward curve The headphones market enjoyed a healthy start to the year. Futuresource’s latest tracker report found that global market volume is up 20 per cent year- on-year, achieving 100 million units, with revenues growing 16 per cent to generate $8.8 billion. “It’s the second consecutive quarter that volume growth has outperformed


revenue growth,” said Rasika D’Souza, Principal Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “In part, this stems from a combination of the growing influence of Chinese brands, alongside successful soft bundling strategies from some of the major smartphone vendors. The headphones market is experiencing a continuous upward curve, as consumers embrace the technology with open wallets.” Q1 produced a watershed moment for TWS, which accounted for over


half of all headphones shipments for the first time, as well as capturing 68 per cent of revenues. “As consumers across the globe benefit from lower prices and greater


availability of non-Apple alternatives, this TWS foray is likely to continue,” said Ms D’Souza. “TWS is also doing its bit to fuel overall sector growth, although it has applied some downward pressure on the in-ear wired and on-ear segments.”


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