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Business  15, Apr 2014

Hong Kong spends US$77M on headphones, headsets & mini-speakers

Yes! Consumers spent US$77 million in the last 12 months on audio devices — result of the country’s high usage of smartphones, tablets; Bluetooth devices most popular

Image credit: Beats Electronic

Whether you’re in a train or in a coffee place, you’re most likely going to get your daily news and entertainment fix on your smart device of choice and put on a pair of headsets to isolate the cacophony of human chatter. Heck, you may even have the blaring gall to play your music through a mini-speaker for all to hear.

Such use of audio peripherals is in excessive form in Hong Kong; a GFK report stated that consumers spent more than US$77 million in the last 12 months. This amount reflects a 10 per cent surge over the same time frame a year ago. Sales revenue for headphones and headsets expanded by nine per cent, while sales for mini-speakers went up 83 per cent more and managed to grab an additional 32 per cent in sales dollars.

GFK Hong Kong Managing Director Walter Leung said that customers in Hong Kong are willing to spend more on audio accessories to improve their smart device media consumption habits. He added that most headphones and headsets that cost above US$500 were purchased more.

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The analysis group also said that headsets and audio devices with Bluetooth features are highly sought after in the region. These types of wireless headphones and headsets experienced a 23 per cent spike in value contribution in the past year. Sales volume for these devices also went up by six per cent, which made the total sales of the devices to hit more than 126,000 units. This value accounted for 14 per cent of all headphones and headsets sold in the region.

But what about Bluetooth mini-speakers though? These devices grew up to 200 per cent in sales volume and 97 per cent in value within the mini-speakers market. This amounted to over 68,000 units sold, according to Leung and his firm’s report. He added that Bluetooth devices precede over traditional wired devices because they’re easier to manage and store. “The ease and convenience of Bluetooth technology is definitely welcomed by today’s high tech users. With some of our daily lives already so cluttered and hectic, being able to simplify processes and do away with the need for wires and cables is much appreciated by consumers.”

Within the last year, 44 new brands of headphones and headsets were launched in Hong Kong. These brands offered 55 models of these devices with Bluetooth-enabled options. On the mini-speaker front, more than a 100 models from 51 brands surfaced in the world city. We’re going to take a stab in the dark and say that existing brands like Beats Electronics and Nokia may have had a hand in contributing to that ginormous sum.

Prospective investors and shareholders in the headphone/headset/mini-speaker business are advised to keep an eye out for devices with specialised features with specific functions to trend in the nation. Examples include waterproof speakers and sweat-proof headphones. “As market saturation sets in time to come,” said Leung, “we can also anticipate the premium, high-end models to be the key growth engine in audio accessories.”

As a cherry on top of this figures sundae, Hong Kong consumers spent more than US$4.2 billion on nearly 8.4 million units of smartphones and tablets in the past 12 months.

Jonathan Toyad

Jonathan Toyad

If you want an elaborate answer on who would win in a fight between Ultraman and Godzilla, Jonathan Toyad is your man. A six-year veteran in the game journalism industry, he did words and videos for outlets such as GameSpot, GameAxis, IGN and Stuff.TV. Fears coyotes and scorched earths.

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