The headphone industry has become very very crowded. Without a doubt Beats By Dre created a huge dent in the consumer electronics industry when they rolled to the scene in 2008. Spending around $200-$300 on headphones was only something audiophiles, artists, and music producers did. Thanks to collaborative promotion by music artists, athletes, and celebrities, Beats by Dre became the kingpin in this market.
One could even argue that if it wasn’t for Beats by Dre, high-end headphones wouldn’t be selling as well as they do now. “People thought we were crazy,” says Beats by Dre CEO Luke Wood. “They said the marketplace would never support a $300 headphone.”
This kind of success didn’t go unnoticed. Hungry competitors rolled to the scene throwing well thought out punches. Within a span of five years, the high-end headphone market became flooded with numerous options.
With new premium headphones being released almost every single month, companies who try to enter this booming market must not cut corners. Learning from Dre’s success is the first step to accessing the playing field, but strategy is more important. One of the biggest elements of the overall strategy should be innovative industrial design.
You can blindly throw millions on advertising, however if your product is ugly, nobody will buy it. Or, if your product sounds terrible people will share their opinion on blogs, social networks, and videos. Sooner or later the public will find out if your product is great, good, bad, or God-awful.
Design is essential when it comes to headphones. Since most headphones have become a fashion accessory, hitting two birds with one pair of headphones is a smart route to take. Headphones have become a statement about your personal identity. Major brands are launching specialized headphones for almost every activity – gaming, working at your desk, noise-cancelling for the plane, you name it. These kinds of sub-niches deserve unique design, attractive features, and extended research.
To show you what I mean, let’s take a look at AIAIAI. AIAIAI is a Danish headphone company that zoomed in on the DJ market since day one. They prefer to own 20% of the DJ market than 0.2% of the consumer market. They heavily focus on extreme sound quality and a wide range of features that DJs need for their profession. AIAIAI is doing it right. If a market is too crowded, find a sub niche within a niche.
Creating a unique/stylish design will result in more sales. This means hiring well-educated industrial designers who aren’t afraid to think outside the box, not cutting corners on packaging design, and using high quality durable materials to assemble your badass headphones. Today we collected forty skillfully constructed headphones for your inspiration. Every image is linked to its source. We hope this showcase will inspire and help current industrial designers. Enjoy!