In a bid to cash in on the consumer propensity to spend more on accessories, Denmark-based EPOS has become the latest audio company to set its eyes on India’s high-end headphones segment. But the firm from Copenhagen wants to focus on modern office workers and serious gamers with its high-end audio solutions in contrast to the personal entertainment segment others are aiming at.
“Now that people are challenged to be able to work from a traditional workspace, and being able to try to adapt to a different work environment, the ability to be able to concentrate on the tasks is even more important than ever. So noise ambience is one of the factors that can actually affect productivity,” Seah Hong Kiat, VP of Sales & Marketing, EPOS, told Indianexpress.com in an interview.
Kiat says the brand is largely focused on the enterprise headset market, a segment it says is driven by senior executives of a company, jet setters, sales professionals, or someone who spends their maximum time in the office and behind the desktop. He said the goal is to make premium headphones that not only look good but deliver excellent audio quality alongside features like active noise cancellation.
To make a mark in the high-end headphones segment in India, EPOS is taking a measured approach. The brand is introducing a series of audio products in the Adapt and Expand range. The Adapt range consists of headphones with wireless capabilities and active noise cancellation. EPOS touts the headphones in the Adapt range have a comfortable build that allows consumers to wear the headset for a considerable amount of time with no discomfort. The headphones are priced between Rs 25,000 and Rs 30,000.
The Expand range meanwhile is a series of plug-and-play conference call-style speakerphones for better audio quality. “We certainly believe there will be modern workers who will find [these] devices very useful and help them work through the day wherever they are, especially in a challenging time, so that they are able to continue with their productivity at work or even at play,” he said.
The market for premium audio products, especially headphones, has been growing rapidly in India. There are many well-established brands in the high-end headphones segment with the likes of Bose and Sony being the market leaders. The competition is certainly there, but Kiat thinks there are certain things that are beyond the cost of the ownership of the product. “Being a premium, high-end audio company, we play a lot on the durability and performance, and therefore we believe that our products will give a lot of great experience,” he explains.
EPOS was established as a joint venture between Sennheiser and Demant, a leading audio company known for making hearing aids, speakers and microphones, in 2003. But the two companies recently decided to end the joint venture. The end of the joint venture means the business segment of Mobile Music headsets will be now part of the Sennheiser, while the enterprise solutions and gaming headsets will be a part of the newly independent audio company EPOS, fully owned by Demant. Does that mean EPOS and Sennheiser will compete for the same segment?
Not really. As part of the agreement, Sennheiser’s enterprise headsets and gaming audio products will now be the dual-named ‘Epos Sennheiser’. “Between EPOS and Sennheiser there is a non-compete agreement in the segment that we are in, “Kiat said, adding that “due to our relationship with Sennheiser we have a licensing agreement that allows us to continue using their name and brand in co-branded products.” “There is no conflict in the market per se,” Kiat says EPOS will function as an independent audio company in India, with its own sales office and warehouse facility.