Consumer Technology Association Study Shows Strong Interest in Hi-Res Audio, In-Store Research

ARLINGTON, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–More than half of recent audio technology consumers are interested in
Hi-Res Audio (HRA) and three-quarters researched audio products in
physical stores, according to a new study from the Consumer Technology
Association (CTA)TM – formerly the Consumer
Electronics Association (CEA)®. 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 audio market is one of the most rapidly evolving and intricate
markets for manufacturers and retailers to identify consumer trends,”
said Chris Ely, senior manager, industry analysis, Consumer Technology
Association. “Our study identifies several key factors that are involved
in consumers’ purchasing process and offers a unique perspective into
the different mindsets of different audio product consumers.”

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. The study also
reveals that a need-based purchase is most often intended to replace or
supplement an existing product, while a desire-based purchase is most
often intended to upgrading the consumer’s total audio experience, which
provides greater opportunity for retailers.

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
  • 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).

Interest in HRA is notably strong, with more than half (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.

“Our study finds that ‘connectivity’ is a key area in which retailers
can better educate their customers,” said Ely. “Even as consumers more
frequently use streaming services and apps at home (86 percent) and
in-vehicle (69 percent), they struggle to conceptualize the benefits of
connectivity further than sharing playlists or streaming via Bluetooth.”

The full Consumers Journey to Purchase: Audio study offers an
extensive understanding of consumers’ retail behavior for consumer
products in general and the audio category in particular, including
retailers, manufacturers and marketing professionals. The study is
designed and formulated by CTA
Market Research
, the most comprehensive source of sales data,
forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer
technology industry. Please cite any information to the Consumer
Technology Association (CTA)TM. The complete report is free
to CTA member companies at
Non-members can purchase the study at

About Consumer Technology Association:

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM, formerly the
Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, is the trade
association representing the $285 billion U.S. consumer technology
industry. More than 2,200 companies – 80 percent are small businesses
and startups; others are among the world’s best known brands – enjoy the
benefits of CTA membership including policy advocacy, market research,
technical education, industry promotion, standards development and the
fostering of business and strategic relationships. CTA also owns and
produces CES® – the world’s gathering place for all who
thrive on the business of consumer technology. Profits from CES are
reinvested into CTA’s industry services.


  • CES
    Unveiled Las Vegas

    January 4, Las Vegas, NV
  • CES 2016 – Register
    6-9, Las Vegas, NV
  • Winter Break
    March 21-24, Park City, UT
  • Technology & Standards Spring Forum
    April 4-8, San
    Diego, CA
  • CES on the Hill
    April 19, Washington, DC
  • Digital Patriots Dinner
    April 20, Washington, DC
  • CES Asia 2016
    May 11-13, Shanghai, China
  • CEO Summit
    June 21-24, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Innovate!
    September 20-22, San Jose, CA
  • CES 2017
    January 5-8, Las Vegas, NV


Consumer Technology Association
Elliot Grimm, 703-907-5240
Santa, 703-907-4308