New Futuresource Report Finds Significant Room for Growth in Wireless Speakers

December 10 2015, 03:10

Futuresource has announced the release of its latest report exploring multi regional trends in the audio shopper’s journey whilst considering purchasing Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Speakers and Headphones across China, France, Germany, UK and the USA. The report finds significant room for growth in the market.
Click to see full infographic - Futuresource Consulting, copyright 2015

The Audio Shopper’s Journey 2015 research focuses on the key steps, as well as internal and external stimulus that affect the consumers’ decision making process when considering an audio product purchase. It identifies current product ownership, future intentions, knowledge of high-resolution audio, music streaming services, Bluetooth or wireless speaker ownership and multi-room and device connectivity.

According to the study, around 40% of respondents had purchased either a Bluetooth or WiFi speaker, with Bluetooth the most popular choice. The research also found that 48% of the overall sample had purchased headphones. A high percentage of these purchases were made within the last year.

According to Caroline Baines, Head of Consumer Research, Futuresource Consulting “Around half of respondents claim to be aware of the differences between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Speakers, however more than 70% of respondents didn’t know or answered incorrectly to certain statements, including around portability for use outdoors, support for higher resolution audio, and availability of in-built streaming services.”

Music unsurprisingly, given the topic was integral to many respondents’ daily lives, with a high number of respondents listening to music on a daily basis. Spotify is the key service being accessed, most using the free service and close to a quarter are paying to access Spotify. A key reason for purchasing a speaker is to play music through a mobile device e.g. phone or tablet, followed by wanting to have access to the same music in multiple rooms of the house.

The report found that ownership of bulky higher end audio visual items, is relatively low for some products, such as A/V receivers, though 1 in 5 respondents in the UK already own a Soundbar, with a further 12% planning to purchase one in the next 12 months. According to the report there is still clearly significant room for growth in the market.

The shopper journey report focuses on the most recent significant product purchases that respondents have made, drilling down into the decision making criteria at different points during the individual’s product journey including cost, reason for purchase, importance of decision criteria, information sources, method of purchase, product satisfaction, likelihood of recommendations of product, brand or retailer.

In terms of brand loyalty only 1 in 10 consumers said they prefer to purchase the same brand when purchasing audio devices, while close to half said it was dependent on the product being purchased.

When evaluating the most influential sources of information used to research a product, the results varied for speakers and headphones. Around 50% of those who had purchased speakers carried out research prior to purchase (compared to 40% for headphone purchasers). For speakers, word of mouth was the biggest influencer, followed closely by manufacturer websites, then jointly retailer websites and/or independent product reviews. For headphones, independent product reviews was the main source of information. In general, however, online product reviews proved more influential than in-store demos when purchasers were asked to rate the influence of these two factors.

The final leg of this year’s study creates a snap shot of the forthcoming purchase intentions, such as approximate spend, reason for intended purchase, method of purchase, brand considerations and rankings for various purchase influences. Around a third of respondents had a brand in mind when choosing their speaker or headphones, with word of mouth a key method by which respondents became aware of the brand.

Two-thirds of Bluetooth speaker purchasers spent £100/$150/130 Euros or less, however spend on Wi-Fi speakers is considerably higher as would be expected, particularly for speakers with multi-room capability.

Futuresource Consulting is a specialist research and knowledge-based consulting company, providing organizations with insight into consumer electronics, digital imaging, entertainment media, broadcast, storage media, education technology and IT. With a heritage stretching back to the 1980s, the company delivers in-depth analysis and forecasts on a global scale, advising on strategic positioning, market trends, competitive forces and technological developments.
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