Music unites us all, regardless of our backgrounds, interests, education, nationality, or personality traits. We wanted to see what music brings us together on the leading music streaming platforms, if exclusive album releases impact customer loyalty, and what devices Americans use to listen to their favorite music. We looked into the leading headphone brands and products purchased on Amazon and found that Panasonic is the most popular headphone brand, dominating earbud sales. Sennheiser, on the other hand, won consumers’ choice for over-ear headphones. Below is our full analysis of how Americans are jammin’ out.
Leading headphones in the U.S.
We analyzed Americans’ headphone purchases on Amazon between October 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016 to detect consumer shopping trends and brand market share. We found that Panasonic is in the lead for headphone market share, accounting for nearly half of the purchases.
Here’s a full breakdown of the market share for the leading six headphone brands on Amazon:
|Brand||% of leading brand sales|
To better understand consumer preferences, we looked into the individual products sold to identify the five most popular headphone products purchased monthly. We quickly found that Panasonic earbuds dominate, accounting for more than three quarters of the leading headphone purchases, mainly due to their ErgoFit Earbud product line. Interestingly, we discovered that only three brands, Panasonic, Sennhieser and Samsung, produce the top five headphone products purchased on Amazon.
Leading three headphone brands on Amazon, by purchase volumes:
|#||Product||% of leading product sales|
|2||Sennheiser over-ear headphones||14%|
|3||Samsung phone earbuds||10%|
Earbuds and over-ear headphones purchases
Our data indicates that earbuds and over-ear headphones account for the vast majority of headphone product sales on Amazon, 88 percent to be exact. Panasonic dominates earbud sales, accounting for an astonishing 94 percent of the top five products purchased in the U.S. Consumer over-ear headphone purchases are more diversified, with multiple brands making the top five list.
Sennheiser is the most popular over-ear headphone brand, accounting for 64 percent of the leading product purchases, mostly due to its HD Pro over-ear product line which have consistently been the best selling over-ear headphones on Amazon. Bluedio Turbine Bluetooth headphones take second place, accounting for more than a quarter of the total purchases on the second most popular over-ear headphone product sold on Amazon.
Here is a full breakdown of the top five over-ear headphones purchased on Amazon, along with their relative market share per ranking:
|#||Product line||% of leading over-ear headphone sales|
|1||Sennheiser HD Professional||100%|
|2||Bluedio Turbine Bluetooth||26%|
|5||Sentey Headphones with Mic||27%|
Over-ear holiday gifts
We were curious why Beats by Dre products didn’t make the cut, while the similarly priced Bose SoundTrue product line did. We dove deeper into the over-ear headphones purchase data and discovered that Bose only made the cut in November, suggesting a seasonal effect. Over-ear headphone sales more than tripled between October and December, while earbud sales only increased by 88 percent. The sales difference can probably be attributed to price points, as Panasonic earbuds have a MSRP of under $10, while top-tier over-ear headphones like Beats by Dre start at $200. The change in purchase behavior is consistent with the holiday season, with more consumers asking for expensive gifts. Sennheiser benefited the most from this seasonal effect, taking 60 percent of the over-ear headphone purchases in Q4 2015.
Bottom line: Unsurprisingly, the holiday season has a tangible impact on purchase behavior, evidenced in the sales figures of earbuds and over-ear headphones on Amazon. We found that while there are many varieties and models of headphones, only three major brands represent the most popular headphones on Amazon. This could be attributed to dominant marketing tactics and prices on behalf of headphone brands, or Amazon’s notorious purchasing algorithm. We’re only in July, but the back-to-school and holiday deals will be upon us before we know it – and we’ll have our analysis of online consumer shopping habits ready, just like last year.