It was expected to be yet another merry holiday selling season for headphones. This seemingly unstoppable category — thanks to both technology advances and a continuous replenishment cycle —is still growing in terms of both value and volume, said Futuresource.
Other insight from the research firm:
Average retail prices are still creeping up, forecast to be $35.70 in 2015, which is up 1.4 percent year on year.
Wireless headphones are expected to account for 15 percent of the market this year and 20 percent in 2016.
Sport headphones are a key growth area, Futuresource said, taking 12 percent of unit shipments this year
Although over-ear models laid claim to just 20 percent of unit share in the first half of 2015, they claimed 50 percent share in terms of market value.
Brand profile is highly important, said Futuresource, and 31 percent of U.S. headphones consumers already have a particular brand in mind before they choose what to buy.
With all of those points in mind, here are seven models we’re looking forward to checking out at CES 2016 and the rest of the year.
Audio-Technica’s Hi-Res Audio-certified ATH-MSR7NC headphones feature active noise-canceling technology, the company’s 45mm True Motion drivers, two acoustic resistors to provide extended bass and improved high frequencies, and a $299 price tag. They are slated to become available in April.
Audeze’s Sine headphones come with an integrated Apple Lightning cable, capable of streaming a 24-bit digital signal through a DSP and DAC.
Beyerdynamic’s second generation of its T5p headphones are said to allow more treble reproduction and a slightly stronger bass response. They also include a four-pole balanced-mode XLR cable as an added accessory.
The R6 from Klipsch is the company’s first Bluetooth in-ear model. It features dual- magnet moving coil drivers, AptX, the company’s patented oval ear tips and up to eight hours of battery life. Suggested retail is $149.
Onkyo’s Iron Maiden headphones (model ED-PH0N3S) are an on-ear model with a $299 price tag. An accompanying smartphone app provides custom EQ settings.
Kicker’s EB300 Bluetooth earphones are sweat- and water-resistant and come with an in-line mic and remote. Suggested retail is $99.99. They’re available now.
Sennheiser is upgrading its HD 800 headphones with a new version: the HD 800 S. This model has the same transducer technology and ear cup design, but has improved the sound reproduction in the medium and low frequency range, the company said. It is priced at $1,699 and will be available this month.