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Harman Delivers Double Digit Growth Despite Being In First Gear

It’s taken Harman International 18 months to get their direct act together in Australia since parting Company with local distributor Convoy, but in that time the Company has lifted their share of the Australian headphone and portable sound market from 5.6% to 26%.

Now the Company who is ranging more than 300 SKU’s in Australia, is set to release an arsenal of new products from JBL and Harman Kardon including a new 24-bit High Res Audio Harman Kardon networked audio speaker, that will take on Sonos whose products are only CD quality and operate over a proprietary software system Vs Google’s Chromecast system which is now being used by Harman to manage content to their high res audio speakers”.

Now owned by Samsung Harman International is a 70-year-old, sound Company that generates US $6.9 Billion in revenues primarily from their relationship from automotive manufacturers who have $24 billion in forward orders placed with the US sound Company.

18 months ago, the Company appointed Marcus Fry as Brand Activation Director in Australia in a move to sell direct to retailers.

This led to a total restructure of their go to market strategy. “we have spent the last 12 months getting our retail strategy right. Today it’s more about less is more” said Fry.

He said, “We are working on getting our in-store experience right, we want to make the space we have in stores work better and we are looking to work closer with retailers to achieve this”.

The Company that has an extensive brand portfolio including JBL and Harman Kardon will shortly launch the premium AKG headphone brand in Australia.

This Austrian brand recently made an appearance when a pair of their in-ear headphones were bundled with the new Samsung S8 smartphone.
In the headphone market, the Company has 6% share and is currently going after both Beats and Bose, in an effort to grow market share.

Among their new headphone product offering is a headphone developed with legendary sound industry producer and writer Quincy Jones.

JBL and music legend Quincy Jones teamed up to develop the new E55BT Quincy Edition Headphone.

It was created in partnership with Quincy’s daughter, creative director Kidada Jones.

According to Fry the Company is looking to launch Harman’s extensive range of automotive aftermarket sound systems in Australia a move that will see the Company compete head on with Pioneer and Kenwood.

Fry said that he is currently talking to distributors “about a partnership” in this market.

The categories that Harman are targeting are soundbars, portable music, headphones and the premium networked sound market.

A classic example of the type of new product that Harman are set to launch into the Australian market can be found in the new JBL Playlist speaker.

The 24bit/96kHz system delivers high quality sound, powered by the cloud claims Fry.

The speaker comes with Chromecast built-in.

Fry claims the Google software eliminates the need for a proprietary OS and it works over Wi-Fi and allowing listeners to easily access music from popular music services like Spotify and Pandora without pairing via Bluetooth—controlling speaker functions directly from a smartphone.

When streaming over Wi-Fi, the need to be within a fixed proximity to connect to the speaker is eliminated.

With JBL Playlist, audiophiles can listen to music by simply tapping the cast button from a music service on their smartphone without any interruptions from phone calls or text messages.

Additionally, multiple devices can be connected to the speaker at one time, giving everyone in the home a chance to play DJ.

With Chromecast built-in, users just tap the Cast button on a mobile music apps to instantly start playing music via the new speakers.

According to Fry the Samsung linked Company is now “ready to grow” having put into place a product portfolio which he claims gives him the ammunition to take on brands such as Sony, Bose, Beats, and Sennheiser at the top end of the market.

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