Consumers Ready For Hi-Res Audio?

According to a new study from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), more than half of recent audio technology consumers are interested in Hi-Res Audio (HRA) and three-quarters researched audio products in physical stores.
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Arlington, VA (November 16, 2015)—According to a new study from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), more than half of recent audio technology consumers are interested in Hi-Res Audio (HRA) and three-quarters researched audio products in physical stores.

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The CTA study, Consumers Journey to Purchase: Audio, finds the audio category is constantly evolving with new features and products entering the market, including high-resolution equipment. The trade association, representing the $285 billion U.S. consumer technology industry, was formerly the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

The study explores audio technology purchases in the need-based and desire-based categories. Consumers who buy for need are mainly focused on cost, everyday use and compatibility with mobile devices. Desire-based purchases prioritize the quality of product and brand over value, and compatibility with core audio-visual products.

Several key findings from the report shed light on the decision-making process for consumers purchasing audio products:
• Two-thirds of consumers' most recent audio purchases (68 percent) were planned, with 77 percent of consumers researching audio products at a physical store and 41 percent doing so online;
• By an immense margin, headphones are the most frequently purchased audio product (69 percent of consumer purchases), with portable speakers (nine percent) and sound bars (six percent) distant runners-up;
• Among the factors affecting consumer purchases, word of mouth (32 percent) is the most influential, followed by store displays (29 percent) and need/want and/or online reviews (20 percent).

More than 53 percent of consumers who purchased an audio product online or in-store in the past year interested in HRA. Music enthusiasts and audiophiles—two subgroups of audio consumers looking for a "better" audio experience—are among the primary consumer targets for HRA. The study finds, however, that consumer interest in HRA can falter when equipment and software upgrades are needed. To combat this, manufacturers should consider marketing on a personal level and offering in-store demonstrations and promotions of high-resolution products.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)
www.ce.org