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New International Consumer Research Explores Headphone Purchasing Habits

As headphones persist as a firm consumer favourite, aligning with lifestyle trends and capturing share of wallet, Futuresource Consulting has released findings from its international study, designed to better understand the shopper journey. Carried out in April and May 2022 across China, France, Germany, the UK and USA, the research was conducted with 7,775 consumers who bought headphones during the last 12 months.

TWS Tops the Chart

The results show that true wireless (TWS) in ear headphones were the most purchased form factor, with more than half of the respondents buying a pair. Wired in-ear headphones were also popular, being purchased by nearly one in three.

Online Reviews Play Leading Role

“We’re seeing reviews playing a big influencing role with shoppers,” says Jamie McMullan, a quantitative analyst at Futuresource Consulting, “and that’s the case across all territories. Whether people are buying online or on the high street, nearly 70% are arming themselves with knowledge from online reviews. More people say end user reviews are important, though online independent reviews aren’t far behind. Our study also shows that word of mouth is a key influencing factor, coming in closely behind.”

An Eye on the Environment

Sustainability is high on the agenda, too, with more than three in five respondents regarding it as an important factor in their headphone purchasing decision. Across all countries combined, one in four considered it the most important factor. However, there were significant country variations, with the largest proportion of consumers in China, followed by the USA, considering it the most important element in their purchase decision.

Bricks and Mortar Losing out to Online

The Futuresource study also underlines the commanding role that digital sales channels play in consumers’ lives. Three-quarters of respondents chose to make their purchases online, with only one in four choosing to visit a bricks and mortar retail outlet. In addition, one in 10 purchased from an online marketplace.

“Convenience was the deciding factor for people shopping online,” says McMullan, “with a wide variety of options being of secondary importance, but still coming in ahead of better deals. For people who shop in-store, the main attraction is being able to take the product home straight away. This is closely followed by the fact that they can see what the product looks like in real life.”

For further information on Futuresource Consulting’s 66-page headphone shopper journey report, or to make a purchase, please contact

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Jamie McMullan

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