After many years of being a niche segment, the premium headphone space in India is finally seeing a boom. In fact, Kapil Gulati, director, Consumer Segment at German audio company Sennheiser, which primarily plays in the premium space, says there has been a 50 per cent jump in the sale of headsets, primarily driven by the popularity of smartphones and tablets.
“Headphones are no longer considered an accessory, they are like any other gadget,” Gulati says. “Music has become an integral part of people’s lives. So if earlier headphones were not an important purchase for people, the new gadgets like smartphones and tablets have started making them buy multiple headsets for different uses like sports and gaming.”
“If overall the consumer segment in India is growing by around 50 per cent, the high-end headset segment is growing in triple digits,” says Gulati. “The growth is very high in the top end segment,” he adds.
There is also a gradual shift towards wireless headsets, which have traditionally been plagued by the perception that there would be some transmission loss affecting overall experience. “But now we have new technologies like Digital Wireless, which have minimal loss during transmission. We are seeing a good shift and people are buying wireless,” he says.
Bluetooth still results in some transmission loss, but that hasn’t stopped the segment from growing to about 4 per cent of the overall headset sales from near zero per cent. This is primarily driven by the entry of stereo headsets with Bluetooth capability.