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Maturing Dock Sales

12/19/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

TWICE: How did sales fare in units and dollars in 2011
compared to 2010, and what is the forecast for 2011?

Patricia Schoenberg, Spectra: Generally we think
there is still growth in docking speakers if only due to the
big quantities being sold of Apple iPhones and iPads in
particular. 2011 sales may not exceed 2010 sales due to
the economy, plus a trend for retailers to reduce space,
and number of models, for a perceived mature category.
Some retailers have also taken away space to have more
available for “new technologies.”

Raleigh Wilson, Altec Lansing: Lower price points
are saturating the market right now due to the poor economic
environment. In general, we feel that 2011 is the
year that the docking category has fully matured. Historically,
iOS devices have driven this market segment,
and now over half of the market [for mobile devices] is
Android and other smartphone platforms. Now, the drivers
toward new purchases are user design preferences,
improved sound quality, and more functionality.

Roy Carpenter, Philips: Docking retail sales have
declined 7 percent through September YTD for both
units and dollars, according to NPD, mainly due to softness
in the clock radio and boombox/radio segments.
Segments such as multimedia speaker sales remained
steady (+2 percent). Full-year 2011 performance should
improve as cyclical trends should trigger positive growth
in the fourth quarter versus the year-ago period. Other
growth drivers include:

• an increase in average prices for docking-related
products as AirPlay technology becomes more widely adopted/available;

• the expansion of the category to include Androidcompatible
docks; Philips has just introduced four such
docks to the category; and

• finally, iPod market maturity that should be offset by
the continued growth in iPhone and iPad sales.

Pia Chon, iLuv: We achieved consistent growth in
year-to-year sales of audio docks in both units and dollars
in 2011, and there are multiple contributing factors.
The continued popularity of the iPhone, the phenomenal
success of the iPad, and the whole tablet category
in general have been driving forces behind demand.

Tablets have created the ever-growing need for a new
category of docks that function as audio/video/productivity
hubs … [and] the launch of iPhone 4S also provided
another boost for audio docks and accessories.

As tablets and smartphones continue to thrive, we
believe that consumers will gravitate toward docks and
accessories that are compatible with several devices,
as opposed to device-specific items.

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