In today’s uncertain times, people around the world are turning to tried and tested avenues like music to stay connected and boost their spirits. Relying on our deep knowledge of the power of music and combining it with world-class design and groundbreaking innovation, HARMAN is meeting consumers where they are – everywhere across the globe – to provide them with the necessary products and solutions for powerful, personal listening experiences.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought sweeping changes to the way people live, work, and interact. The pandemic has also served as a clarifying force, impelling the world to simplify, to reduce, and stay close to home. As a result, many of us have experienced feelings of, loneliness and anxiety, and found ourselves turning to music as a source of comfort, healing, and connection. If there is one thing that the pandemic has made clear, it’s that music matters – now more than ever.
HARMAN has always believed in the profound benefits of music. For more than 70 years, our designers and engineers have devoted their passions and talent to creating products and solutions that help people enjoy those benefits to the fullest – from on-the-go speakers to hyper-accurate gaming headsets, and home audio equipment that can turn a living room into a virtual concert hall, an efficient home-office, or a place to study. This year is no different – we remain committed to meeting users’ growing demand for genuine, meaningful listening experiences.
Meeting Listener Expectations
Consumers’ buying habits have been changing as experiences get increasingly digital and connected, but this change has been accelerated due to COVID-19. In particular, eCommerce has seen exponential growth and at times even replaced physical retail channels – generating the equivalent of the last decade’s growth within just three months, according to McKinsey. Digital media platforms have benefitted from the crisis as well, with digital video, music, and gaming all seeing spikes in engagement. According to FutureSource, the crisis has also led to a sizeable growth in the gaming headset market. This increase in demand is linked to growing numbers of consumers using gaming as an at-home entertainment option for social distancing, in addition to consumers purchasing gaming headsets for working and studying from home.
This shift toward eCommerce likely isn’t temporary. With all signs pointing toward a stronger reliance on eCommerce in the future, HARMAN has employed a comprehensive omni-channel strategy to engage with our community partners and meet customers where they are, as well as where they shop.
Leader in Headphone Innovation
True wireless is the most important current trend right now in the headphones market and is set to become the new form factor for headphones in the future. In fact, FutureSource predicts a 64% growth in units of sales for true wireless this year alone. HARMAN remains comfortably at the forefront of headphone innovation, focusing on our true wireless headphone offerings, which showcased a triple digit year-over-year sales increase. Additionally, JBL’s On-Ear headphones grew by an impressive 43% in a category that saw sales falling -3.8% among competitors and headphones featuring Noise Cancelling technology are expected to grow 40% CAGR 2020-2024.
Dominating the Gaming Market
When it comes to gaming, audio accuracy is a key differentiator for competitors of every level. That’s why we created a true market-disruptor with the JBL QUANTUM range, the first headset range from JBL specially designed for gamers. From detecting crossfire to the even the slightest of enemy movements, the JBL QUANTUM headsets feature the most accurate soundscape ever, enabling players to feel like they are truly a part of the game. During the development process, our engineers truly employed out-of-the-box thinking and built a spherical-setup of 34 loudspeakers designed to simulate sound fields around a user. Known as the “Hyperion Sphere,” it allowed our developers to measure Head Related Transfer Function (HRTF) datasets and validate the performance of the virtualization algorithm by comparing how accurately users could identify virtual sources when compared to real sources of sound.
Initial customer feedback and sales have been encouraging, as are market forecasts: this year, the gaming headset market volume is expected to increase by 20% globally, and by 2024 the market is forecasted to reach 54.8M units globally, progressing at a 2020-24 volume CAGR of 11%.
The Rise of High-Resolution
Studies have shown that listeners want and expect high-quality sound, and are willing to pay more in exchange for it. While typically appealing to luxury audio customers looking for optimal quality, high-resolution audio has also been widely used by professional recording studios and audiophiles for the past 15 years. But, thanks to recent developments within the mainstream audio market, high-resolution audio is stepping into the spotlight. With the growth of compatible wireless speakers, soundbars and wireless headphones, adoption of high-resolution technologies is rising fast. As the number of high-resolution streaming subscribers continues to grow, the addressable audience for premium audio products is likely to follow suit, benefitting the entire audio market in the end. Moreover, increased storage capacity in smartphones, wider availability of Wi-Fi networks in public spaces, larger mobile data subscriptions, and faster download speeds via 4G/5G or fiber at home mean that high-resolution is becoming more accessible than ever.
Over the last few months, we’ve all been reminded of the power of music to help us heal emotionally and stay connected to the world around us. As the leader in connected audio technologies, HARMAN is helping bring people together by adapting to new consumer shopping preferences, unveiling the latest in true wireless headphones, reaching new audiences in the gaming market, and providing the ultimate listening experiences with high resolution audio.
In a year unlike any other, HARMAN hasn’t faltered from providing the cutting-edge and premium quality audio experiences that our customers have come to expect. To learn more about HARMAN’s newest range of connected consumer audio and entertainment innovations, visit: https://news.harman.com/media-kits/ifa2020