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Headphones - UK - November 2017

“Strong growth in headphone sales has been underpinned by Bluetooth growth in 2017 and the leading manufacturers have all made moves to launch premium in-ear wireless headphones to rival Apple’s AirPods. While sound quality remains the key upgrade feature, an innovative sector is opening up new opportunities to turn headphones into a more advanced wearable technology product.”
– Adrian Reynolds, Consumer Technology Analyst

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • The challenges of the shift to wireless
  • Strong expertise vital in-store and online as headphones become more complex

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Surge in Bluetooth market driving revenues
              • Figure 1: Value of headphone sales, by type, 2014-17
            • Smartphone manufacturers lead in a crowded marketplace
              • Figure 2: Headphone ownership, by brand, July 2017
            • Rising device use has driven headphone ownership
              • Figure 3: Device ownership, December 2015-June 2017
            • The consumer
              • Ownership struggling for growth
                • Figure 4: Headphone ownership, by type, July 2017
              • Nearly half of main headphones are in-ear
                • Figure 5: Main headphone ownership, by type, July 2017
              • Smartphone use driving headphone features
                • Figure 6: Headphone features, July 2017
              • A quarter of main headphones were free
                • Figure 7: Purchase location, July 2017
              • A third of people plan to buy headphones in the next year
                • Figure 8: Headphone purchase plans, July 2017
              • Importance of sound quality promotes demonstrations and review sites
                • Figure 9: Important upgrade factors, July 2017
              • What we think
              • Issues and Insights

                • The challenges of the shift to wireless
                  • The facts
                    • The implications
                      • Strong expertise vital in-store and online as headphones become more complex
                        • The facts
                          • The implications
                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                            • Surge in Bluetooth market driving revenues
                              • A strong wired segment remains
                                • Smartphone manufacturers lead in a crowded marketplace
                                  • Most people only have one brand of headphones
                                    • Rising device use has driven headphone ownership
                                      • Headphone jack removal leads to upsurge in wireless sales
                                      • Market Size

                                        • Surge in Bluetooth market driving revenues…
                                          • …but a strong wired segment remains
                                            • Figure 10: Value of headphone sales, 2014-17
                                            • Figure 11: Value of headphone sales, by type, 2014-17
                                        • Market Share

                                          • Smartphone manufacturer brands dominate ownership
                                            • Figure 12: Headphone ownership, by brand, July 2017
                                          • Most people only have one brand of headphones
                                            • Figure 13: Repertoire of number of brands owned, July 2017
                                          • People with smartphone headphones likely to own multiple brands
                                            • Figure 14: Repertoire of number of brands owned, by brand, July 2017
                                        • Market Drivers

                                          • Rising device use has driven headphone ownership
                                            • Figure 15: Device ownership, December 2015-June 2017
                                          • Wide availability of music, video and audio boosts headphone use
                                            • Headphone jack removal leads to upsurge in wireless sales
                                              • Advertising spend doubles as headphone brands push wireless adoption
                                                • Falling Pound drives import prices up amidst economic uncertainty
                                                  • Designer brands pushing headphones as premium accessories
                                                    • Figure 16: Beats Liverpool Football Club Headphones
                                                    • Figure 17: Sennheiser’s Pink Floyd-inspired headphones
                                                • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                  • Increasing range of truly wireless in-ear headphones
                                                    • Google Pixel Buds bring new possibilities for headphones
                                                      • Second generation of wireless earbuds set for 2018
                                                        • Digital overtakes TV as dominant headphone advertising platform
                                                          • Advertising spend doubles as headphone brands push wireless adoption
                                                            • Samsung most recommended but Apple likely to be a favourite brand
                                                            • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                              • Increasing range of truly wireless in-ear headphones
                                                                • Figure 18: Bang & Olufsen’s BeoPlay E8 earphones
                                                                • Figure 19: Bose’s SoundSport Free wireless headphones
                                                              • Google Pixel Buds bring new possibilities for headphones
                                                                • Figure 20: Google’s Pixel Buds headphones launched with the Pixel 2 smartphone
                                                              • Beats continues to innovate in the on/over-ear segment
                                                                • Figure 21: Beats Studio3 range, launched in September 2017
                                                              • Second generation of wireless earbuds set for 2018
                                                                • Figure 22: Apple’s AirPod wireless headphones
                                                            • Brand Research

                                                                • Brand map
                                                                  • Figure 23: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, August 2017
                                                                • Key brand metrics
                                                                  • Figure 24: Key metrics for selected brands, August 2017
                                                                • Brand attitudes: Beats and Apple’s innovation underpins premium brand image
                                                                  • Figure 25: Attitudes, by brand, August 2017
                                                                • Brand personality: Leading brands fostering fun, upbeat brand image
                                                                  • Figure 26: Brand personality – Macro image, August 2017
                                                                • Audio-focused brands perceived as more cutting edge and stylish
                                                                  • Figure 27: Brand personality – Micro image, August 2017
                                                                • Brand analysis
                                                                  • Samsung the most used and trusted brand despite lacking Apple’s differentiation
                                                                    • Figure 28: User profile of Samsung, August 2017
                                                                  • Sony remains a trusted brand despite less differentiation
                                                                    • Figure 29: User profile of Sony, August 2017
                                                                  • Bose’s premium pricing sees usage well below awareness levels
                                                                    • Figure 30: User profile of Bose, August 2017
                                                                  • Apple is most likely to be people’s favourite brand
                                                                    • Figure 31: User profile of Apple, August 2017
                                                                  • Sennheiser struggles for brand awareness but receives strong recommendations
                                                                    • Figure 32: User profile of Sennheiser, August 2017
                                                                  • Beats usage limited by high prices but satisfaction levels high
                                                                    • Figure 33: User profile of Beats by Dre, August 2017
                                                                  • Philips perceived as reliable but outdated and basic
                                                                    • Figure 34: User profile of Philips, August 2017
                                                                  • Marshall lacks brand awareness but maintains an upbeat, stylish perception
                                                                    • Figure 35: User profile of Marshall Headphones, August 2017
                                                                • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                  • Headphone ownership flat at 81%
                                                                    • In-ear headphones are most popular
                                                                      • Wireless growth set to accelerate
                                                                        • A quarter of main headphones were free
                                                                          • In-store presence remains vital in headphone market
                                                                            • A third of people plan to buy headphones in the next year
                                                                              • Price remains a key issue in a crowded marketplace
                                                                                • Importance of sound quality promotes demonstrations and review sites
                                                                                • Headphone Ownership

                                                                                  • Ownership levels broadly unchanged from 2015
                                                                                    • Figure 36: Headphone ownership, by type, February 2015 and July 2017
                                                                                  • More than a third of over-55s do not own headphones
                                                                                    • Figure 37: Headphone ownership, by type, by generation, July 2017
                                                                                  • Nearly half of main headphones are in-ear
                                                                                    • On/over-ear headphones weighted towards men and older consumers
                                                                                      • Figure 38: Main headphone ownership, by type, July 2017
                                                                                  • Headphone Features

                                                                                    • Smartphone use driving headphone features
                                                                                      • Warranties could gain importance as premium headphones grow
                                                                                        • Figure 39: Headphone features, July 2017
                                                                                      • Wireless growth set to accelerate
                                                                                        • Figure 40: Headphone features, by gender, July 2017
                                                                                      • On/over-ear headphones more likely to be wireless
                                                                                        • Most headphone features more prominent among Millennials
                                                                                          • Figure 41: Headphone features, by generation, July 2017
                                                                                      • Purchase Methods

                                                                                        • A quarter of main headphones were free
                                                                                          • In-store presence remains important in the headphone market…
                                                                                            • …but trial periods could boost online sales
                                                                                              • Gift market could boost sale events such as Black Friday
                                                                                                • Figure 42: Purchase location, July 2017
                                                                                              • Women far more likely to rely on free headphones with smartphone
                                                                                                • Figure 43: Purchase location, by gender, July 2017
                                                                                              • Online-only retailers most popular due to competitive pricing
                                                                                                • Gender divide sees more men purchasing in specialist retailers
                                                                                                  • Figure 44: Online/in-store purchase location, by gender, July 2017
                                                                                              • Intent to Buy

                                                                                                • A third of people plan to buy headphones in the next year
                                                                                                  • Young Millennials are a key group to target
                                                                                                    • Figure 45: Headphone purchase plans, July 2017
                                                                                                  • Broadly level purchase intention for in-ear and on-ear models
                                                                                                    • Fitness market boosting demand for ear-hook/clip-on headphones
                                                                                                      • Technologically engaged wireless owners still likely to upgrade
                                                                                                        • Figure 46: Purchase plans, by headphone type, July 2017
                                                                                                    • Important Factors when Upgrading

                                                                                                      • Price sensitivity high in a crowded market
                                                                                                        • Importance of sound quality promotes demonstrations and review sites
                                                                                                          • Design far less important than function and fit
                                                                                                            • Figure 47: Important upgrade factors, July 2017
                                                                                                          • Most people have three or more important upgrade factors
                                                                                                            • Figure 48: Repertoire of important upgrade factors, July 2017
                                                                                                          • Strong branding can reduce price sensitivity
                                                                                                            • Figure 49: Important upgrade factors, by brand of headphones owned, July 2017
                                                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                                                              • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                • Brand research
                                                                                                                  • Brand map

                                                                                                                  Headphones - UK - November 2017

                                                                                                                  US $2,648.76 (Excl.Tax)