Skip to main content

Online reviews remain most important purchasing consideration for headphone shoppers, new Futuresource research shows

As headphones continue to capture the hearts and wallets of consumers, new research from Futuresource Consulting provides a comprehensive view of the shopper journey. Conducted with nearly 8,000 consumers living in China, France, Germany, the UK and USA, the study explores the purchase triggers that influence the decision-making process. 

“We saw a wide range of reasons for headphone purchase,” says Tom Bartlett, Consumer Insights Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “New form factors and new features, better audio quality and durability were all high on the list, as well as the need to replace or upgrade existing hardware.”  

For many, clicks eclipse bricks

Online channels continue to lead the way, with three in four respondents choosing to purchase online over in-store. Respondents in the UK and China over-indexed with their preferences to purchase online, likewise 78% of the younger respondents in the age group of 16-35 years preferred this channel. 

Futuresource’s research has indicated that the rapid move to online shopping accelerated during the pandemic is likely to continue to grow. The motivations for buying online included convenience, better prices and more deals. Additionally, respondents mentioned the availability of wider choices and easy comparisons with other products. Over 60% of the respondents who purchased online preferred to opt for delivery, although the options to collect in store and click & collect have become more popular since the last wave, growing by 6%. 

Outside of China, unsurprisingly, Amazon emerged as the strongest retailer. 

For those buying in-store, the key driver was the ability to see the physical product before purchasing.  

Reviews and demos are key to purchase

“Reviews remain the most important influence on the purchasing decision,” says Bartlett, “with nearly 68% of respondents citing online independent reviews as an important source of information, closely followed by online end user reviews. Word of mouth was also confirmed as an important source of information. 

“In addition, our study showed the importance of product demonstrations during the headphone purchasing journey. Over half of the respondents saw a product demonstration before purchasing their headphones, and the majority of them bought from the store where they saw the demonstration, whether that was bricks and mortar or online.” There is a growing interest in online demonstrations in particular, which 59% of respondents cited as influential in their purchasing decision compared to 56% in the previous wave. 

Futuresource Consulting’s Headphones Shopper Journey report surveyed consumers on which headphones they purchased, where they purchased it, the price point and their product purchase journey. For more information on this report or to make a purchase, please contact 

Date Published:

About the author

Tom Bartlett

Tom Bartlett is an analyst within the Consumer Insights team at Futuresource. 

Latest Consumer Electronics Insights

Cookie Notice

Find out more about how this website uses cookies to enhance your browsing experience.

Back to top