True wireless confessions: JBL uncovers surprising behaviours of TWS earbud owners

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London, 30 April 2020 – JBL, the leading headphone brand, has found some surprising earbud etiquette. This follows research conducted by the brand into the behaviour of young Europeans (14-35 year olds) when choosing and using TWS earbuds.

Key findings:

Over 50% confess they use TWS earbuds with nothing playing to ignore people

28% of owners wear them whilst eating dinner with other people 

Gen Z more social than millennials as 48% open to sharing earbuds

Truly wireless, but just how attached are we to our earbuds?

Well, 52% of 14-35 year olds across Europe admit they would search for a lost earbud in the mud if it fell out, and 35% would even fish one out of the toilet! 

There is also physical ghosting in action, with over half using earbuds without anything playing just to ignore people, with 54% of girls confessing to this vs just 45% of guys.

Do you leave them in at the dinner table?

Behaviour changes in several surprising ways once you own a pair of TWS earbuds. 28% of owners admit they use them whilst eating at the dinner table with others, while just 14% of potential owners expect they’d behave this way.

Who do you take them out for?

TWS earbud use is at an all-time high but there are clearly some unwritten rules in place. With 85% of 14-35 year olds removing their buds to talk to their buddies, and the family connection staying strong as even more (89%) will remove to talk to their relatives.

Gen Z more sociable users of technology

Behaviour when using earbuds is also split between two generations with younger Gen Z much more likely to share an earbud with someone else (48% vs 36% of millennials). They’re also more open to interruptions with just 36% of Gen Z compared to a large chunk (50%) of millennials stating that if their earbuds are in, they are unavailable.

“The past two years have seen true wireless earbuds soar in popularity. At JBL we have a great range of TWS earbuds with something for everyone from sporty to more fashion-focussed and all with the great sound expected from JBL. We are fascinated by headphones and wanted to look into what the public look for in TWS earbuds whilst also understanding how they behave when using them. It’s clear that what started as an accessory is now something we can’t live without.” 

Marije Bakker, PR Manager EMEA at JBL.

All data is based on 2020 research conducted by JBL of 2277 people in age range 14-35 in Europe


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About JBL

JBL creates the amazing sound that shapes life’s most epic moments. From iconic events like Woodstock and concerts at Madison Square Garden, to games at Yankee Stadium and weekend road trips, JBL elevates listeners’ experiences with award-winning audio that lets them make the most of every moment. With unmatched professional credentials and over 70 years of delivering industry leading innovation, JBL is the authority in engineering superior sound.

About HARMAN

HARMAN (harman.com) designs and engineers connected products and solutions for automakers, consumers, and enterprises worldwide, including connected car systems, audio and visual products, enterprise automation solutions; and services supporting the Internet of Things. With leading brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, Mark Levinson® and Revel®, HARMAN is admired by audiophiles, musicians and the entertainment venues where they perform around the world. More than 50 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and connected car systems. Our software services power billions of mobile devices and systems that are connected, integrated and secure across all platforms, from work and home to car and mobile. HARMAN has a workforce of approximately 30,000 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia. In March 2017, HARMAN became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics.