A study of more than 400 “Weekend Warriors” found that currently available headphone products don’t fit well or are uncomfortable, and many said that manufacturers just don’t understand their needs.
New Zealand (May 30, 2017) Earshot, creator of the first true action sport headphones, announces the results of a survey on the headphone preferences of action sport athletes. A key takeaway from the survey was that most “Weekend Warriors” think the quality of their current headphones is just average. Meanwhile, 47% said music was very or extremely important to achieving a satisfying action sport experience, and 28% said their headphones have a positive impact on sport performance.
Industry watchers know that action sport athletes have a problem. The gear they use has to be durable enough to handle outdoor environments; stable to handle speed; and versatile to handle the twists, turns and jolts of their sports. Unfortunately, much of the gear used by action sport athletes isn’t suitable to these conditions, and the problem is particularly pronounced when it comes to headphone products. Anecdotally, action sport athletes say their headphones don’t fit or anchor well, battery life is too short, and most headphones lack a comfortable ergonomic design. To better understand these issues, Earshot this month surveyed over 400 Weekend Warriors.
According to the survey results, the main problems with currently available headphones seem to be that cords get in the way (33%), headphones are uncomfortable (23%), and they don’t fit properly (17%). Action sport enthusiasts also said that fit and functionality are the most important features in headphones (comfort and sound quality were second and third, respectively), and a quarter of respondents believe headphone manufacturers just don’t understand the needs of action sport enthusiasts.
One seemingly indisputable finding was that Weekend Warriors prefer listening to music (72%) while participating in their sport. Among those who don’t, 20% said their headphones really weren’t designed for their sports; another 16% said their headphones are either not very good or awful. As if to prove how valuable music and headphones are to the overall action sport experience, nearly half (49%) of all survey takers said they’d be willing to spend at least 10% more on their next set of headphones. Approximately 40% reported having spent at least $100 on their last pair of headphones.
“To me, the most important finding from our research is that 35% of action sport athletes said they’re at least somewhat likely to abandon their activity if their headphones don’t work properly,” says James Bell-Booth, co-creator of Earshot headphones. “That data point should strike fear in the hearts and pocketbooks of the entire action sports industry. As a community, we need to take more seriously the headphone requirements of action sport athletes, and get to work making products that meet their needs better.”