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Headphones were the Most Purchased Tech Product during Lockdown

Headphones stood out as the top tech product purchased during lockdown, with nearly a third of respondents indicating that they spent more than they usually would pre-pandemic. That’s according to a new Audio Tech Lifestyles survey from Futuresource Consulting, carried out with consumers across the USA, UK, Germany, Japan and China.

True Wireless Emerges as the Top Form Factor for Regular use

Although TWS and wired in-ear headphones both had the highest ownership, consumers favour TWS over other form factors for regular use. Looking to the territories, markets such as the USA and China witnessed high levels of ownership of TWS headsets.

“TWS is rising to the top, proving itself as the go-to form factor for a whole range of activities,” says Saranraj Mathivanan, Senior Market Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “Our research shows people are choosing TWS for commuting, music listening, working from home. Even during airplane travel, which was once a safe harbour for over-ear headphones. What’s more, TWS headphones have a quicker replacement rate in comparison to most other form factors, most likely because it’s the preferred design for use across multiple applications.” TWS owners are tech-savvy and driven to own the latest technology. As a result, many are choosing to match their headphones with their brand of smartphone to benefit from the seamless ecosystem experience.

When purchasing headphones, audio quality was the primary consideration for consumers, taking precedence over price. Other key purchase triggers included brand, connectivity, reviews and design.

Intent to Purchase

Looking to the future, over a third of people who intend to buy headphones are looking to buy TWS within the next 12 months, cannibalising sales of other form factors “Nearly half of headphone users are willing to spend more than before on headphones,” says Mathivanan, “with a substantial share of respondents also telling us they are likely to spend more than $200.”

The Impact of the Pandemic on Future Purchases

“With working from home becoming a long-term reality for many, around 15% of respondents are planning to purchase new headphones that they can use for both personal as well as professional purposes,” says Mathivanan. “We’re seeing this over-index in some markets as well as amongst younger consumers. A similar number of respondents are looking to buy gaming headphones that could also be used for working from home too.”

The new Audio Tech Lifestyles report from Futuresource Consulting includes detailed consumer survey responses about headphones, home audio, audio and music ownership and usage across the USA, UK, Germany, Japan and China. For further information or to make a purchase, please contact

Date Published:

Saranraj Mathivanan

About the author

Saranraj Mathivanan

Saranraj is a Senior Market Analyst in the Personal Electronics team. He has about six years of experience in market research and consulting. He is responsible for analysing and reporting trends in consumer electronics such as headphones, hearables and smartphones. In the past, Saran worked with the B2B and Technology teams at Kantar, where he managed and executed more than 80 customised market research projects across various sectors such as e-commerce, technology, logistics, automotive, engineering, etc. Projects he handled included market sizing, competitor analysis, demand estimation, forecasting, and brand equity. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering and an MBA in Marketing & Analytics.


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