ISSAQUAH, WASHINGTON — Today, Costco officially rolled out the latest Kirkland Signature branded hearing aids in stores across the United States. The new Kirkland Signature 9.0 (KS 9) is, for the first time, being produced by Sonova, the parent company of the popular Phonak hearing aid brand.
New Kirkland Hearing Aids Made by Phonak Parent Company, Sonova
According to the company, the new Kirkland aids are a unique product made specifically for Costco, that are “powered by Sonova technology”. Pending the release of further details, sources could confirm the following:
- The physical housing of the aids will be distinct and not from the Phonak brand portfolio
- The product is not rechargeable
- The KS 9.0 device will have Sonova’s made for all (MFA) chipset, allowing for universal direct connectivity to Bluetooth devices
Phonak will also be removing the Brio 3 RIC products and all Phonak ITE products from Costco following the release of the KS 9.0.
Kirkland Hearing Aid Prices Slashed Further — Yet Again
Costco’s Kirkland Signature label has always been the value brand for many products found at Costco, both inside and outside the hearing aid department. Over the past several years, however, the prominence of the Kirkland brand in its hearing centers has grown significantly–making it perhaps the most dispensed brand at the hearing centers today. This is particularly significant, considering Costco is estimated to hold more than 11% market share of all hearing aids sold in the US, with continued growth rates of its hearing aid centers frequently exceeding 20% year-over-year.
In keeping with the trend observed over the past several years, each successive generation of Kirkland Signature (KS) hearing aids has seen the price lowered by $100/pair:
- KS 4.0: $1,999/pair (manufactured by Rexton)
- KS 5.0: $1,899/pair (manufactured by GN ReSound)
- KS 6.0: $1,799/pair (manufactured by GN ReSound)
- KS 7.0: $1,699/pair (manufactured by Rexton)
- KS 8.0: $1,599/pair (manufactured by Rexton)
- KS 9.0: $1,499/pair (manufactured by Sonova)
While manufacturers may not be happy with the ongoing price reductions, consumers are unlikely to complain. Many see the ongoing price reductions as being consistent with calls to increase access and affordability of hearing healthcare, such as the recommendations made in the widely publicized NAS and PCAST reports.
Very Significant Development for Sonova
Phonak securing the Costco Kirkland Signature contract is seen as a very significant move by industry analysts. The company has seen some challenges at the retailer, since first entering Costco in 2014.
By securing the contract with Costco, Sonova should almost certainly hold the largest level of market share at the retailer, likely to be welcome news to investors.