San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
Arlington, Va.-Resurgent home audio system sales offset flattening home component sales and declining autosound volume to boost August's factory-level audio sales to a six-year high of $737 million, up 6.3 percent, Consumer Electronics Association statistics show.
Year-to-date sales were up 11.2 percent to $5.27 billion.
August's system sales rose 16.3 percent to a record $192 million, marking a return to the first half's double-digit growth. Year-to-date sales were up 8.7 percent to $1.24 billion. August's growth was propelled by shelf and home-theater-in-a-box systems, which accelerated 15 percent and 45 percent, respectively.
Portable sales, including home radios, hit their highest level for the month since 1995. Sales rose 8.7 percent to $235 million, marking the segment's 10th consecutive monthly gain, although the pace was considerably slower than the first half's double-digit gains. Despite the deceleration, year-to-date sales moved ahead 22.3 percent to $1.58 billion.
The North Star in the portable constellation was the headset CD player, whose sales rose 25 percent to $85 million in August and 37 percent to $511 million for the year to date.
Home component sales eked out a 0.5 percent gain in August to $126 million, but thanks to double-digit first-half gains, year-to-date sales were up 13.4 percent to $965 million. Home CD player sales, energized largely by CD-recorder sales, took a quantum leap in August, when they rose 27 percent.
Home speakers continued to charm consumers and grew 10 percent in August. The home receiver outlook, however, is nebulous. After rising by more than 20 percent in the first half, receiver sales in August slipped 6 percent.
Total home audio sales (components and systems combined) rose 9.5 percent to $318 million for the month and 10.7 percent to $2.21 billion for the year to date.
Aftermarket autosound was the only audio segment to decline in August, when volume slipped 1.3 percent to $185 million. Year-to-date sales, however, were up 2 percent to $1.48 billion. In-dash CD growth continued to outshine the aftermarket, rising 11 percent for the year to date.