The Next Headphone Phenomenon
Almost every CE dealer we speak to says headphones have been among their top-selling categories during the last few years. With the variety of styles, features, price points and quality levels, headphones make up a near-perfect accessories category.
Presented in the right setting and backed with the right demo, a retailer’s headphone section is one of the hottest draws in the store. Strong guerrilla marketing campaigns at the Summer Olympics by the likes of Beats By Dre and Sol Republic (who could forget the long tracking shots of Michael Phelps walking to the starting platform wearing a pair of the company’s Tracks HD Anthem phones) certainly helps to fuel the excitement.
That excitement in mobile audio accessories should not stop with headphones. There’s another category we bet (make that a big bet) will generate similar sales, profit and customer enthusiasm. That category is portable Bluetooth speakers. If manufacturers and retailers put the same amount of effort into designing, marketing, merchandising and selling Bluetooth speakers as they have in headphones, the industry, along with consumers, will be able to celebrate another winning category. (Please see page 36 for an overview of some of the latest Bluetooth speakers.)
Manufacturers have already designed some great models, but they have only scratched the surface. Expect more colors and sizes by the middle of next year. The really exciting development, though, will be in sound quality. Today, the more popular models sound pretty damn good for such a small speaker, but they’ll pale in comparison to tomorrow’s models.
We’d bet retailers could move a lot more of these if they merchandise the entire category near their headphone displays. Sales associates should make sure that every consumer looking at headphones is given a quick demo of a few of the best portable Bluetooth speakers. Your customers will be surprised at what’s available and impressed by the sound quality. After they buy their first unit, they’ll eagerly anticipate the improvements in the next gen ... and be just as eager to buy the new model.
As you can tell, we’re hot on the speakers, mainly because they fit so many of the sweet spots that compel consumers to buy CE: ease of use, out-of-the-box connectivity, immediate gratification, multiple uses, mobile device compatibility. We could go on, but we’ll leave that up to you.