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May Audio Sales See Double-Digit Growth

Arlington, Va. -- Factory-level audio sales rose at a double-digit rate for the third consecutive month in May, when gains of more than 20 percent in the portable and home component categories lifted industry volume by 10.7 percent to a record $724 million, Consumer Electronics Association statistics show.

Year-to-date sales were up 11.9 percent to $3.12 billion, after being adjusted to reflect the retroactive inclusion of portable Internet audio sales back to January.

May marked the industry's eighth consecutive month of growth.

The month's top performer was portable audio. Sales expanded for the fourth consecutive month at a double-digit pace. Volume rose 21.6 percent to a record $236 million for the month and an adjusted 25.3 percent for the year to date to $902 million.

Based on the adjustments made by CEA to previous portable-sales numbers for the months of January through April, Internet audio portables generated $41.2 million in factory-level sales during the four-month period.

Year-to-date portable sales were running at an annualized rate of $2.75 billion, potentially putting the category within striking distance of its 1994 peak of $2.8 billion.

Home component sales rose 20.7 percent to $124 million to mark the category's fifth consecutive month of growth. Year-to-date sales, up 15.1 percent to $593 million, are running at an annualized rate of $1.66 billion, compared to actual 1999 sales of $1.44 billion.

May's component stars were Dolby Digital receivers, up 91 percent, and CD-recorders, which CEA said were largely responsible for a 51 percent increase in component CD sales.

In the autosound aftermarket, growth returned in May following the previous month's 1.6 percent decline. May's $190 million volume, up 4.7 percent, hit a record for the month, but weaker gains earlier in the year held back year-to-date growth to 2.4 percent. Sales through May were $928 million.

The only category to post a decline in May was home systems. Sales slipped 1 percent to $174 million, but because of double-digit gains during the previous three months, year-to-date sales were up 7.8 percent to $702 million. Year-to-date sales were running at an annualized rate of $2.24 billion compared to 1999's record actual sales of $2.07 billion.

Combined sales of home systems and home components were up 7 percent in May to $298 million and 11 percent for the year-to-date to $1.3 billion.