2021
9
UK Headphones Market Report 2021
2021-11-02T03:06:57+00:00
OX1050013
2195
144069
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Report
en_GB
“Truly wireless earbuds are expected to become the most widely-owned type of personal audio device in the upcoming years, however customers must choose from the wide array of options. Online…

UK Headphones Market Report 2021

£ 2,195 (Excl.Tax)

Report Summary

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the UK Headphones market, including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted the headphones and earbuds market as people and companies bought headsets to adapt to the working-from-home lifestyle. A section of consumers also increased their time watching TV or listening to podcasts on mobile devices which will have resulted in more people buying audio devices to add to that experience.

Of those who own both earbuds and headphones, there is a clear preference towards the former with 64% using truly wireless earbuds rather than wireless headphones. This is just one of the indicators of how popular truly wireless earbuds are in the headphones market, as consumers are also significantly more likely to buy truly wireless earbuds (17%) over the next year compared to other types of personal audio equipment.

There remains a clear level of concern about COVID-19, with 41% of people being worried or extremely worried about being exposed to the virus in August 2021. This means that retailers should continue to limit the amount of headphone demos in store, with premium devices given priority. Some 72% of those who spend £250 or over on their most-used personal audio device would only buy headphones after trying them in-store, compared to the 38% average, highlighting how important people feel it is to try premium headphones first.

In terms of online retail, however, a way to help customers pick from the wide array of truly wireless earbuds is if the retailer asks which features are most important to that customer, for example battery life or sound quality. The search result would then organise the list of earbuds based on which ones align with those requirements most closely, using customer reviews or manufacturers’ descriptions.

Read on to discover more details or take a look at all of our UK Electronic market research.

Quickly understand

  • Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on the headphones and earbuds market
  • Which type of headphones or earbuds consumers own and which brand they have
  • Which kind of headphones or earbuds people intend to buy and which features are most important to them
  • Attitudes towards needing to try headphones in-store before purchasing them
  • Whether people prefer a wired connection to Bluetooth

Covered in this report

Brands: Apple, Samsung, Sony, Bose, Beats by Dre, Google, Sennheiser, Skullcandy, Marshall Headphones, Philips.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Zach Emmanuel, a leading analyst in the Technology sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Truly wireless earbuds are expected to become the most widely-owned type of personal audio device in the upcoming years, however customers must choose from the wide array of options. Online retailers that offer search results which are tailored to an individual’s preferences could significantly help with their purchase journey.

Zach Emmanuel - Research AnalystZach Emmanuel
Consumer Technology Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • COVID-19: market context
          • Economic and other assumptions
            • Products covered in this Report
            • Executive Summary

                • Impact of COVID-19 on headphones and earbuds
                  • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on headphones and earbuds, 2021
                • The market
                  • Headphones and earbuds market valued at £1.1 billion as growth continues
                    • Streaming services roll out lossless audio for top quality music
                      • Companies and brands
                        • Apple is the clear market leader for headphones or earbuds
                          • Figure 2: Brand of headphones or earbuds, owned, 2021
                        • Apple releases flagship headphones AirPods Max
                          • Sony updates earbuds line-up with WF-1000XM4
                            • The consumer
                              • A third of consumers have fully wired earbuds
                                • Figure 3: Type of headphones or earphones owned, 2021
                              • Half of headphone or earbud owners bought online
                                • Figure 4: Purchase channel for headphones or earbuds, 2021
                              • Older Millennials are most likely to spend higher amounts on headphones or earbuds
                                • Figure 5: Price of most-used headphones or earbuds, 2021
                              • Listening to podcasts is far more popular with owners of more expensive headphones or earbuds
                                • Figure 6: Activities performed using headphones or earbuds, 2021
                              • Consumers are likely to re-purchase truly wireless earbuds
                                • Figure 7: Type of headphones or earbuds intending to purchase, 2021
                              • Those intending to buy wireless headphones are the most likely to prioritise sound quality
                                • Figure 8: Most important aspects of new headphones or earbuds, 2021
                              • Nearly two thirds of headphone and earbud owners prefer wireless earbuds to wireless headphones
                                • Consumers in London have greater need to try headphones before buying
                                  • Figure 9: Attitudes towards wireless headphones and earbuds and trying products in-store, 2021
                              • Issues and Insights

                                • How COVID-19 is shaping the headphones and earbuds market
                                  • Clear messaging required as manufacturers move away from including earbuds in smartphone boxes
                                    • Filtering wireless earbuds by key features can help online buyers
                                    • The Market – Key Takeaways

                                      • Headphones and earbuds market continues to perform well despite COVID-19
                                        • COVID-19 will have motivated consumers to buy headphones or earbuds
                                          • Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music promote lossless music
                                          • Market Size

                                            • Impact of COVID-19 on headphones and earbuds
                                              • Figure 10: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on headphones and earbuds, 23 August 2021
                                            • Headphones and earbuds market valued at £1.1 billion in 2021 as it continues its positive performance
                                              • Financial confidence to further help market in 2021
                                                • Figure 11: Value of headphones and earbuds market, 2017-21
                                            • Market Forecast

                                              • Headphones and earbuds market to continue steady growth over next five years
                                                • Figure 12: Market forecast for headphones and earbuds, 2021-26
                                              • Forecast methodology
                                              • COVID-19 Scenario Performance

                                                • Mintel’s approach to predicting the impact of COVID-19
                                                  • Fundamental differences in how COVID-19 is affecting consumer markets
                                                    • Extended COVID-19 disruption is unlikely to impact headphones and earbuds market
                                                      • Figure 13: COVID-19 scenario forecasts, 2016-26
                                                    • COVID-19 market disruption: risks and outcomes
                                                      • Figure 14: Summary of Mintel scenario expectations and the impact on the headphones and earbuds market, 2021
                                                  • Market Drivers

                                                    • Lockdowns will have driven purchases of headphones for work and entertainment
                                                      • Smartphone manufacturers removing headphone jacks and wired earbuds as part of movement to wireless
                                                        • Removing earbuds from smartphone box
                                                          • Qualcomm announces new audio technology to bring CD quality sound over Bluetooth
                                                            • Streaming services also roll out lossless audio for top quality music
                                                              • Lossless music could help to drive sales of mid-range to high-end headphones and earbuds
                                                              • Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

                                                                • Over a third of people with headphones or earbuds have ones from Apple
                                                                  • Apple adds premium headphones in AirPods Max to personal audio line-up
                                                                    • Marshall Headphones promises over 80 hours of battery life on Major 4 headphones
                                                                    • Market Share

                                                                      • Apple is the clear market leader for headphones and earbuds
                                                                        • Apple’s dominance may not last in long term
                                                                          • Figure 15: Brand of headphones or earbuds owned, 2021
                                                                      • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                        • Apple releases flagship AirPods Max headphones
                                                                          • AirPods Max are at the very top end of the market
                                                                            • OnePlus co-founder announces Ear(1) headphones from new company
                                                                              • Sony updates earbuds line-up with WF-1000XM4
                                                                                • Developments to sound quality
                                                                                  • Sony’s products expected to maintain appeal by addressing key consumer priorities
                                                                                    • Beats by Dre announces Beats Studio Buds with ANC
                                                                                      • Marshall releases Major 4 headphones with over 80 hours of battery life
                                                                                      • Brand Research

                                                                                          • Brand map
                                                                                            • Figure 16: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, 2021
                                                                                          • Key brand metrics
                                                                                            • Figure 17: Key metrics for selected brands, 2021
                                                                                          • Brand attitudes: Samsung is most likely to be the brand that consumers trust
                                                                                            • Figure 18: Attitudes, by brand, 2021
                                                                                          • Brand personality: Over half of consumers who have heard of Samsung describe it as fun
                                                                                            • Figure 19: Brand personality – Macro image, 2021
                                                                                          • Samsung and Sony lead as most reliable brands
                                                                                            • Figure 20: Brand personality – Micro image, 2021
                                                                                          • Brand analysis
                                                                                            • Consumers are most likely to see Samsung as consistently high quality
                                                                                              • Figure 21: User profile of Samsung, 2021
                                                                                            • Apple is viewed as expensive but innovative
                                                                                              • Figure 22: User profile of Apple, 2021
                                                                                            • Sony is most closely associated with being trustworthy and reliable
                                                                                              • Figure 23: User profile of Sony, 2021
                                                                                            • Bose is among the more expensive brands in consumers’ view
                                                                                              • Figure 24: User profile of Bose, 2021
                                                                                            • Almost eight in 10 Beats by Dre users would recommend the brand
                                                                                              • Figure 25: User profile of beats by Dre, 2021
                                                                                            • Philips is among the top brands for offering good value
                                                                                              • Figure 26: User profile of Philips, 2021
                                                                                            • Consumers are most likely to associate Sennheiser with being high quality and trustworthy
                                                                                              • Figure 27: User profile of Sennheiser, 2021
                                                                                            • Stylish and prestigious are among strongest associations with Marshall Headphones
                                                                                              • Figure 28: User profile of Marshall Headphones, 2021
                                                                                            • Reading word clouds
                                                                                            • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                                                                              • Organising online search results by key features can appeal to truly wireless earbud customers
                                                                                                • Advertising headphones via podcasts can engage Older Millennials
                                                                                                • Impact of COVID-19 on Consumer Behaviour

                                                                                                  • Retailers should be selective about product demonstrations as consumers remain cautious about COVID-19
                                                                                                    • London-based stores showcasing premium wireless headsets will be particularly engaging
                                                                                                        • Figure 29: Most important aspects of new headphones or earbuds, 2021
                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Requirement to try headphones in-store before purchasing, 2021
                                                                                                    • Ownership of Headphones or Earbuds

                                                                                                      • A third of consumers have fully wired earbuds
                                                                                                        • Smartphone manufacturers moving away from including earbuds in the box
                                                                                                            • Figure 31: Type of headphones or earbuds owned, 2021
                                                                                                          • Truly wireless earbuds are expected to be most popular type in the upcoming years
                                                                                                            • Figure 32: Preference for using wireless earbuds or wireless headphones, 2021
                                                                                                        • Purchase Channel and Pricing

                                                                                                          • Half of consumers with a personal audio product bought it online
                                                                                                            • Figure 33: Purchase channel for headphones or earbuds, 2021
                                                                                                            • Figure 34: Buying online for consumers who have spent more or less than £250 on headphones or earbuds, 2021
                                                                                                          • Those intending to buy headphones in the next year want to try them first
                                                                                                            • People intending to buy truly wireless earbuds are less concerned with trying in-store
                                                                                                              • Figure 35: Requirement to try headphones before purchasing for consumers intending to buy headphones or earbuds, 2021
                                                                                                            • Older Millennials are most likely to spend higher amounts on headphones or earbuds
                                                                                                              • Figure 36: Price of most-used headphones or earbuds, 2021
                                                                                                          • Uses of Headphones or Earbuds

                                                                                                            • Listening to podcasts is more common among those with more expensive headphones or earbuds
                                                                                                              • Advertising premium headphones or earbuds within podcasts
                                                                                                                • Figure 37: Activities performed using headphones or earbuds, 2021
                                                                                                                • Figure 38: Preference for wired or wireless headphones, by generation, 2021
                                                                                                            • Intent to Purchase and Most Important Features

                                                                                                              • Consumers are likely to re-purchase truly wireless earbuds
                                                                                                                • Figure 39: Type of headphones or earbuds intending to purchase, 2021
                                                                                                                • Figure 40: Intent to buy headphones or earbuds for owners of truly wireless earbuds, 2021
                                                                                                              • Bluetooth earbuds with a wire should focus on exercise instead of everyday use
                                                                                                                • Figure 41: Most important aspect of new headphones or earbuds for consumers intending to buy truly wireless earbuds or Bluetooth earbuds with a wire, 2021
                                                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                  • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Central Forecast Methodology

                                                                                                                    • Market forecast and prediction intervals
                                                                                                                      • Figure 42: Lower and upper bound interval for headphones and earbuds, 2021-26
                                                                                                                    • Market drivers and assumptions
                                                                                                                      • Figure 43: Key drivers affecting Mintel’s market forecast, 2021-26
                                                                                                                    • Forecast methodology
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – COVID Scenario Performance Methodology and Assumptions

                                                                                                                      • Scenario performance
                                                                                                                        • Figure 44: Scenario forecast for headphones and earbuds, 2021-26
                                                                                                                      • Rapid COVID recovery, central and extended COVID disruption scenarios outline
                                                                                                                        • Scenario methodology

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