Headphones or earphones?

For some, the difference is negligible. But among students, it’s a question that inspires introspection.

Student Edge’s full-service market research arm Youth Insight recently completed a study into student trends and decisions when buying headphones, earphones and wireless ear buds.

And earphones (as in the ones on a cord that go in the ear) are still the most used. However, a glimpse into the future suggests that may not be the case forever.

From the 525 respondents (aged 14 to 25) 70 per cent said they’re currently using earphones, compared to 38 per cent who use headphones. However more students are looking to buy headphones in the next 12 months than earphones (16 per cent to 13 per cent). It seems young people more closely associate headphones with music, videos and video games, both in indoor and outdoor settings, so it’s no wonder they’re moving in this product direction.

Students are also willing to pay more for a good quality pair of headphones; up to $200, in fact (based on median responses). By comparison, $80 is as much as students will pay for earphones (perhaps because they still have the reputation as “freebies” that come with phones and such).

However, a majority of young people still browse for these items in a physical store (53 per cent), while 35 per cent still try them at a physical store. (Of course, 47 per cent also look for online deals before buying, and two thirds of those turn to Student Edge.)

JB Hi-Fi remains the go-to retail store for this market, followed by Apple Store, Harvey Norman, Officeworks, Aldi, Myer and Big W.

But as far as brands are concerned, Apple remains the number one among students for earphones, with total awareness at 82 per cent, compared to the next closest competitor, Sony, at 72 per cent. (The Apple-owned Beats by Dre was third at 71 per cent.)

Header Image: Sennheiser