“Over the last 12 months, exciting changes in how consumers are using their personal audio devices have emerged like the growing use of true wireless earbuds and streaming audio,” said Anthony Murray, senior vice president and general manager, voice and music, Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd. “We commissioned this survey to shed some light on the features that matter most to consumers, and to help identify both their current needs and their expectations and desires for audio technology in future. “The overriding trend in this space is that end users continue to demand ever better sound quality and new features, at all price points.”
Some of the key findings from the 2017 State of Play report include:
1. Both sound quality and ease-of-use are vital purchase drivers for respondents
2. 60% of participants rated battery life as “very important” when choosing wireless speakers or headphones
3. Interest in the hearable ecosystem is rapidly building
4. There is significantly more interest in voice control and personal assistants in 2017 compared to 2016
5. Consumers continue to become more discerning about audio quality (when compared to the State of Play report findings from prior years 2016 and 2015)
6. 80% of participants said they expect new features included with each new release of a wireless audio product
“The hearables race is on,” added Murray. “While these technologies are still in their infancy, consumer interest in the benefits provided by the hearable ecosystem appears to be rapidly building. We expect manufacturers who innovate early may over time make the biggest gains in the hearables space as they are best able to meet the connectivity and sound quality that users desire.”
According to the new study, more than two thirds (67%) of Americans surveyed were interested in a wireless headset that could connect to the internet and provide voice assistance for their daily lives. Though this trend wasn’t as strong in the UK, it still amounted to 45% of participants. The report also confirms that there is growing acceptance of voice interaction, with 43% of all consumers surveyed agreeing that the ability to use voice commands would make it easier to control their wireless speakers or headphones, but the jury’s still out for over a third (36%), who are unsure, and 21% who don’t think this capability would help them.
Technology innovations have supported new wireless personal audio use cases that require both advanced product capabilities and greatly extended battery life. The report indicates audio OEMs that can meet these requirements and support great sound quality stand to gain a wider, committed customer base, and an edge in this competitive space.
To download the full report, visit the State of Play website.