November 2020


Listen up!

Headphones are likely to be one of the biggest gift purchase items this Christmas, so what will consumers earmark on their wish list?


hristmas is the most wonderful time of the year! And it looks like Santa’s sleigh will be loaded up with headphones this Christmas. Big ones, small ones, over-ear, in-ear,

true wireless, noise-cancelling… there is something out there for everyone. Says Reece Cummings, UK Head of Sales

Consumer Lifestyle Division at Harman: “I don’t think it will be a surprise to anyone to see true wireless headphones continue to grow the overall headphone category. “In fact, we are also seeing positive trends for

headphones overall – and portable audio – as people have to adjust once again to working from and entertaining themselves at home.” Under the JBL brand there are recent additions

to the TUNE Series line-up – the 115TWS and 215TWS. These true wireless, in-ear headphones deliver JBL Pure Bass Sound, Voice Assistant control, plus the flexibility of Dual Connect to listen with only one or both earbuds. Also recently announced, JBL and Under

Armour have reunited to launch the UA Project Rock True Wireless X headphones, personally tested and approved by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, no less! They are sweat and waterproof and come with Bluetooth 5.0, while JBL Charged Sound pumps out rich bass and Passive Noise Cancellation decreases distraction. “We cover a wide variety of audio categories

and price points, so I’m happy to see both gift and personal purchases by consumers at this time of year,” Mr Cummings adds.


Headphones or socks for Christmas? Comment by James Attfield, Managing Director at Turnstone AV

In terms of value, UK headphones sales are now comfortably over £600m

annually. That is 25 per cent more than the hosiery market, making headphones an ever- bigger Christmas gift to retail than socks! Moreover, while headphones volumes hit a

plateau of around 10m units annually a few years back, the value continues to rise as average prices, and margins, continue to head north. The majority of consumers are looking for quality, style and performance in headphones as we all spend more time using them. True wireless models are going to be the

gift of choice this festive season and already account for two-thirds of the UK headphone market. Yet, how many high street retailers offer headphones at all these days, let alone true wireless models or various colours? While established brands hold a great deal

of sway with more mature customers, it is mostly newer brands driving the overall market value. These younger brands have distinct identities that resonate with specific audiences, capturing an ever-larger share of headphone spend from the more traditional and more generalist marques. Ausounds is one particular new brand with a strong identity in music creation, promoting

new talent and new artists and bands. This is a brand that appeals to anyone who loves new music and wants to hear music exactly the way the artist intended. Born in LA in 2019, the brand is the

brainchild of a group of music industry professionals and engineers, with design and manufacturing experience across a number of other big-name headphone brands. Turnstone AV is delighted to be the distributor

behind the brand’s high-profile launch into the UK market. We have engaged Big Red Sales to help get Ausounds out to independent retailers across the UK, and the BRS team will provide product and sales training across the Ausounds true wireless and in-ear Active Noise Cancelling ranges. We have also engaged a marketing agency (run by ex-ERT Editor, Richard Stevenson) to help market and raise awareness of the brand with consumers. The sales potential with true wireless

headphones is unlikely to waiver into 2021. As many mainstream brands will be savaged on price through Black Friday and internet sales, Ausounds offers retailers a unique opportunity to sell high performance headphones with a compelling brand story. After all, the music creators’ headphones of choice is a whole lot more exciting than socks!

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