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The State of Play 2016: Audio consumer insights report

Key highlights from a survey of consumers who use a smartphone and identify as music lovers or listeners, commissioned by Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd.

Oct 19, 2016

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

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This year we spoke to over 3,600 consumers in five different countries around the world in order to gain insights into the way people choose and use their audio technology.

Now the results are in. You can download the full report, but in the meantime, here’s a summary of some of the most important findings:

  • Streaming is the new norm

Fundamentally, the way we listen to music has changed. 80 percent of the consumers we surveyed said that they use their smartphones to store and stream music. 83 percent of people said that streaming music is a normal everyday occurrence, with 81 percent using their smartphone as their primary music source.


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Consumer Audio Trends Report

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  • Compatibility with other brands really matters

With three quarters of respondents streaming and listening on multiple devices each day, at present only 27 percent of them are “very satisfied” with how compatible their current equipment is.

And yet 78 percent of consumers said they would willingly pay for audio technology that will easily work with the other brands they use. Manufacturers can take advantage of this expectation and provide superior value to consumers by developing more interoperable products.

  • Virtually everyone wants high quality sound

Significantly more than half (66%) of those we questioned said that they can tell the difference between technologies based on sound quality alone, and a whopping 90 percent of headphone shoppers say that sound quality is most important to them. In fact, 71 percent said that it is even more important than cost, which illustrates a huge opportunity for manufacturers to develop products that command a higher price (and potentially a greater profit margin).

Increasingly listeners are demanding improvements in wireless sound quality, actively researching and seeking out products that will deliver the best audio experience.

  • Ease-of-use matters more than value

Consumers have always expected devices to “just work” straight out of the box with minimal fuss. Our data shows that “ease of use” is the top purchase driver for shoppers, coming in above value.

When we compared all the findings to our study from 2014, we saw that in the last two years consumers have become more discerning about audio quality than ever before while demanding the freedom of wireless and full compatibility between brands. This presents strong opportunities for manufacturers, as this data shows that shoppers are willing to pay for new products that meet their needs.

[this post was edited 1/18/2017 to update the statistics in the .gifs]

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