How many of you have upgraded your headphones recently? If you have then you are definitely not alone as recent market research shows that headphones sales are booming alongside the growth in the smartphone market, with the help of gadget hungry celebrities.
I have earlier written about the emerging trends in headphone market driven by celebrity endorsement and our need to make social statements, which according to recent research by The NPD Group in the US is one of the main factors for not only an increase in headphone sales, but also an increase in how much we spend on our headphones.
According to their research unit sales of headphones have so far this year increased by 13 percent compared to same period last year, and in dollar sales have increased by 33 percent as customers are opting for the more expensive side of the market, where celebrity endorsed products are usually found. In fact, their research indicates that “ownership and application endorsement” are either extremely or very important to about 30 percent of consumers when it comes to choosing headphones.
I have not been able to find recent UK figures for 2010, but according to What HiFi figures, 2009 sales were up 10 percent year on year to just under 7 million pairs, with upscaling to more expensive headphones resulted in an increase of spend of 19 percent (£106 million). Supporting this trend is information from John Lewis that one of the bestselling headphones they stock is the Monster Beats Pro Special Edition Detox by Dr.Dre retailing at £449.95.
The NPD research also shows that the Monster Beats by Dr.Dre range is leading the pack, with Skullcandy actually leading the way when it comes to in-ear headphones. Although not the lowest priced headphones in the market, Skullcandy is more budget friendly than for example Beats by Dr. Dre range of headphones.
As much as i would like to say that this trend is driven by consumers need for a better sound experience, i think it is mostly driven by fashion, with improved sound performance coming as an added bonus.