Over the coming days and weeks at Appliance Retailer we’ll be looking at the Australian audio market, finding out what the leading brands and suppliers are up to and looking at the best new products available.

We start with Yamaha, where advertising and communications assistant manager Shaun McMahon argues that immediate access to vast quantities of music has changed the way we consume it.

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“The technological revolution has delivered unprecedented access to vast catalogues of music. More significantly, it has also shaped the way we listen to music,” McMahon said.

“The age of smart devices has driven this push with iOS and Android becoming the platforms of choice. Armed with a pocketful of media, the consumer looks to personalise their entertainment to best suit their lifestyle and use. Be it headphones or complementary audio products that engage the smart device, the audio category has echoed this trend with consumers investing in products to optimise their listening habits.

“Observation of the current market reveals that wireless solutions, in particular, are an attractive proposition for consumers, yielding convenience and universal connectivity, provided the two devices share the same wireless technology.

“For many applications, Bluetooth is utilised as it is a relatively familiar entity having been established in the market for a number of years now and is common to a broad range of products and manufacturers.”

Yamaha Rechargeable Wireless Speaker (NX-P100) — RRP $199

McMahon said Yamaha will be promoting its new wireless speaker range in professional-skewed and in-flight entertainment magazines. There will also be dedicated point-of-sale at an in-store level made available to the channel. With heightened competition in the market likely to place downward pressure on price points, McMahon said a focus on features and benefits at store level can help retailers maximise returns from this category.

“With a number of players coming to market, we can expect to also see heightened competition and customer interest in the portable audio space,” he said

“Functionality such as wireless connectivity is becoming more prevalent at the low cost end of the market and we can expect demand for these features to drive sales. An opportunity exists here to connect the customer, who has already adopted the smartphone, to their music in a manner they may not have even been aware of.

“It is important to note however that these key selling features complement core qualities such as performance, construction and reliability which should not be overlooked as they underline customer satisfaction.”

Part II in our Soundbites 2014 series: Parrot