It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year – For Headphone Sales

Looking ahead to 2018, the lineup of cool new features taking headphones from simple listening devices to connected technology products will continue to provide growth and drive demand for new offerings.

Whether treating yourself or gifting to someone else, increased spending has resulted in stereo headphones historically ranking among top tech sales performers during the holiday season (Oct. – Dec.). Dollar sales last holiday were 15 percent higher than the 2015 holiday season, and 2017 sales are off to a strong start with Cyber Monday week sales up 55 percent vs. the same week last year[1], according to The NPD Group, a leading global information company.

Thus far, 2017 has been a strong year for headphone sales. Year to date (through week of Nov. 26), U.S. headphone dollar sales are up 23 percent vs. year ago, while average prices increased 17 percent over the same time period, according to NPD’s Weekly Retail Tracking service. Bluetooth headphones are a major revenue driver in the category, now accounting for 67 percent of dollar sales. Additionally, 41 percent of Bluetooth headphone unit sales are priced above $100.

“Fresh audio offerings from market leaders like Beats, Bose, and Sony, continue to pique consumer interest and drive sales in the category,” said Ben Arnold, executive director, industry analyst for The NPD Group. “Headphone features are also continuing to expand, as manufacturers look to include technologies such as heart rate tracking, selective noise cancelling, and voice commands, which create new use cases and purchase motivations for consumers.”

Given the breadth of headphone styles and features available, it may not be surprising that according to analysis from Checkout, a receipt mining service, headphone buyers were the most likely group to have return purchasers buying in the category during both the 2015 and 2016 holiday season[2]. In fact, 13 percent of online headphone buyers made purchases in the category in 2015 and again in 2016. Despite holiday promotions, consumers also spent more on headphones during the holiday season compared to the rest of the year, while purchasing the same amount of units. According to Checkout, online purchasers spent $104 on headphones on average during the holidays, while spending $84 on average during the rest of the year.

“As we have seen in recent years, we expect this holiday season will produce strong results for the headphone category,” said Ben Arnold, executive director, industry analyst for The NPD Group. “Looking ahead to 2018, the lineup of cool new features taking headphones from simple listening devices to connected technology products will continue to provide growth and drive demand for new offerings.”

[1] The NPD Group / U.S. Weekly Retail Tracking Service, Oct. 4, 2015- Jan. 2, 2016 vs. Oct. 2, 2016- Dec. 31, 2016

[2] The NPD Group / Checkout, Oct. – Dec. 2015 vs. Oct. – Dec. 2016

About The NPD Group, Inc.

NPD is the leading global provider of market information and business solutions covering brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and emerging channels in more than 20 industries. We combine our unique data assets with analytic solutions to help our clients measure performance, predict trends, and improve results, advising them to help drive successful growth. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, consumer electronics, e-commerce, entertainment, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, juvenile products, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, technology, toys, travel retail, games, and watches / jewelry. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup and @npdtech.

Checkout delivers the most comprehensive view of consumer purchase behavior for general merchandise categories, across all retailers over time, to help you understand how to adjust your marketing to fuel growth. Checkout E-commerce offers the most complete and accurate view of the online channel – including first and third-party sales for Amazon and other marketplaces, 400+ e-commerce retailers including direct-to-consumer, and an early read on emerging players. Information is collected from more than 3 million consumers, through data provided by our partner Slice Intelligence and NPD’s own proprietary receipt-harvesting mobile phone app.

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