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CEA: Sound Bars Raise Sales Bar

11/08/2010 12:01:00 AM Eastern
ARLINGTON, VA. – Sound-bar sales are rising swiftly and account for a growing portion of component home-speaker sales, according to the latest forecasts from the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA).

In sound bars, CEA forecasts a 2010 rise of 113 percent to $61 million, though gains will slow to 16 percent in 2012. Within the category, sound bars packaged with a wired or wireless subwoofer will rise 159 percent to $27 million to account for 44 percent of sound-bar volume, rising to 51 percent of sound-bar volume in 2011.

In 2009, sound bars accounted for only 6 percent of component-speaker dollar volume of $484 million, including custom-installed speakers. Sound-bar share will rise, however, to 11.4 percent in 2010, to 12.8 percent in 2011 and hit 13.2% percent in 2014, CEA forecasts show.

CEA defines sound bars as comprising passive unpowered models as well as powered models with and without virtual surround processing. Sound bars with builtin DVD or Blu-ray players are classified as home-theater-in-a-box (HTiB) systems.

As is usually the case in the CE industry, unit sales are rising faster than dollar sales, with unit sales forecast to rise 139 percent in 2010 to 299,000 units and 21 percent in 2011 to 361,000 on factory-level price declines of 11 percent in 2010 to $205 and 4 percent in 2011 to $196.

“Sound bars may have initially been designed — and envisioned — as an affordable alternative for augmenting the home theater experience,” CEA said in its forecast, “but these products have become a legitimate force to be reckoned with.” With more powered sound bars coming packaged with wired and wireless powered subwoofers, sound bars “may become less a stop-gap alternative and more a satisfactory solution for consumers looking to embellish the sound in their living rooms,” CEA said.
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