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UK consumers go GaGa over headphones [insight]

In a UK market where consumer confidence index is down six points compared to a year ago and in which consumer electronics have seen a double digit decline in sales in the same period, one product range bucks the trend as the UK goes gaga over headphones.

New headphone display at HMV

A recent Gfk report shows that UK sales of headphones are up 13 percent in the period from July 2010 to June 2011, with total sales of 8.75 million, or 24,000 pairs sold every day. No wonder struggling high-street retailer HMV is focusing on the headphone market with their new revamped in-store experience.

The UK headphone market is estimated to be worth around £137 million at the moment with further growth expected for the coming year as sales forecast for 2012 indicates sales topping 10 million headphones.

Using the current figures from the report the average spend on headphones is around £15.65, highlighting that the majority of the market is still focused around the affordable range of in-ear headphones. However, as i have highlighted in earlier reports, the interest for over-ear and on-ear headphones have increased substantially in the last year or so, much thanks to some big new entrants using celebrity status and design/fashion to grab consumer interest, including the Beats by Dre headphone range.

Combining the focus on celebrity/artist backed designer headphones with the growing popularity and sales of Apple products, it looks like the headphone market will continue to buck the trend for some time to come. One of the key challenges however for the headphone market is to make it easier for consumers to try before they buy, especially when it comes to the higher end of the headphone market where consumers will be spending £200+ for a pair of headphones, because there is plenty of interest in that market.

The same report also highlights that other Apple related hi-fi accessories are doing well, including iPod speaker docks and Apple AirPlay speakers.

[source: Gfk via WhatHiFi]

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