No one knows sound better than HARMAN. For more than 70 years, our deep expertise in acoustic design and technologies have resulted in some of the most innovative audio solutions and iconic listening experiences for music lovers all around the world. Over the last 18 months, we’ve witnessed how consumer behaviors have continued to evolve and pay more attention to developments in gaming solutions, remote working and home listening – all along with a renewed focus on audio quality. It leads us to wonder, what new opportunities are presenting themselves in this fast-evolving sector? And, what can we learn about shifting consumer-brand relationships?

At Reuters Strategic Marketing 2021, an event focused on exploring the impact of brands on society, examining new digital touchpoints, and discovering the opportunities that come with shifting consumer-brand relationships, HARMAN’s President of Lifestyle, Dave Rogers virtually connected with Oisin Lunny, music journalist, audio enthusiast and host of HARMAN’s Audio Talks podcast, to take a closer look at the market opportunity for premium products in the audio industry that enhance consumers’ lives. Read on to discover the biggest takeaways from their fireside chat…

  • Consumers are spending money on personal and home entertainment audio. The realization of music’s positive impact on people’s mood and the explosion of virtual shared music was one of the more unexpected gifts stemming from the pandemic and has opened up several new avenues for the audio business. Whether they are looking to upgrade their sound systems or buy a new set of noise-cancelling headphones, the most frequent request among consumers looking for audio equipment is a high-quality acoustic experience. 
  • Growth in the headphones market is on a continuous upward curve. The global headphones market volume continues to rise, led by advancement in true wireless technologies and active noise cancellation features.
  • Premium quality audio is the next big thing in gaming and esports. In new gaming genres, audio accuracy is the key differentiator. With the launch of JBL QUANTUM, HARMAN’s first headset range specially designed for gamers, players of every skill level can feel like they are truly inside the game. HARMAN also offered a new way to put consumers at the center of the action with the JBL Quantum Cup, the first-of-its-kind gaming tournament that saw fans match-up against their favorite e-sports teams for the chance to meet the pros and even advance to the finals.
  • High-Resolution audio is becoming more accessible than ever. While High-Res audio has been widely used by professional recording studios and audiophiles over the past 15 years, it has entered the mainstream market thanks to the growth of compatible wireless speakers, soundbars, wireless headphones, and upgraded outputs from various audio platforms as well as wider availability of Wi-Fi networks in public spaces, larger mobile data subscriptions, and faster download speeds.
  • Companies turned to new and creative consumer engagement strategies during the pandemic. When the world’s stages closed in 2020, major players in the live entertainment industry had to find new ways to stay connected and ease financial strain, and these are likely to stay on in a post-pandemic audio reality. Virtual and hybrid events have become the norm, along with digital-led activations across a wide range of emerging and established platforms, like HARMAN’s Professional Solutions Workshop Program, JBL’s True Summer campaign and the JBL BACK TO STAGE campaign.

There is no doubt that the past year has forever changed how companies engage with their consumers and customers. Demand for high quality-audio products will only continue to grow as consumers continue to prioritize premium sound experiences. As we look ahead to 2022, companies must continue to embrace the ever-evolving digital communications landscape to further showcase their offerings and help foster deeper connections with consumers. For more insights and information, watch the full session with Dave and Oisin below: