69% of those polled wouldn't buy a phone without a 3.5 mm headphone jack
GSM Arena ran a poll of their users asking, “Do you still use a 3.5 mm headphone jack?” and 69% of those polled responded that they wouldn’t buy a phone without one. A further 14% said their phone has a 3.5 mm audio output, but they wouldn’t mind if they didn’t have one. The remaining respondents were split between living the dongle life (8%), and those who have replaced their headphones with new ones using Bluetooth/USB-C/Lightening connections (9%).
At first glance, this looks like a bad sign for companies such as Apple and Google, who have entirely removed headphone jacks from their products, or organizations such as HTC and Huawei where some models only have USB-C or Bluetooth. However, we do need to keep in mind that readers of specialist sites tend to be enthusiasts of that product type (phones in this case), and this influences the results. The phones that are getting a lot of interest from enthusiasts at the moment still come with headphone jacks, such as the OnePlus 5T, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, LG V30, Xiaomi Mi A1, and Honor 7X.
It was also interesting to see that 17% of those polled were using dongles or had changed to USB-C/Lightning headphones. Unfortunately, we can’t extrapolate from this data to work out what portion of phone enthusiasts on GSM Arena purchased devices without headphone jacks in 2017. This is because the way the question was asked gives no way to separate those who are using a Bluetooth/USB-C/Lightning headphone because they have to, from those who switched because they wanted to.
What this does tell us, is that there is a hardcore group of supporters for the inclusion of 3.5 mm headphone jacks, and manufacturers need to keep this in mind as more of them start to march to the beat of the jack-less drum.