By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Factory-level autosound sales hit a record level in May, but the gain wasn't nearly enough to prevent audio industry sales from plunging 13.7 percent to a three-year low of $625 million, CEA statistics show.
With monthly industrywide sales falling at a double-digit rate for the third time this year, cumulative audio sales were off 6.4 percent to $2.93 billion. Three major audio sectors — portables, home components, and home systems — were down for the year-to-date.
In posting only their second monthly gain of the year, autosound sales rose 9.1 percent to $208 million, but year-to-date sales were dead flat at $928 million. For the month, in-dash CD sales grew 34 percent to $114 million, accounting for 55 percent of total autosound volume. Car speaker sales were also up for the month: flush-mount speakers were up 12 percent to $21 million; midrange/tweeter packages, up 105 percent to $1.6 million; bass speakers, up 29 percent to $17 million; and enclosed speakers, up 20 percent to $3.6 million.
Here's how the other audio categories fared in May:
Home systems: The second consecutive month of double-digit declines lowered May's sales to a three-year-low of $156 million, down 10.5 percent. For the first time this year, year-to-date sales fell into negative territory, posting a 1.7 percent decline to $690 million. The category includes shelf and rack systems and home-theater-in-a-box electronics/ speaker packages.
Home components: Falling at a double-digit rate for the fourth time this year, monthly component sales shrank 19.3 percent to $100 million, a level lower than that of any May going back to at least 1990. Cumulative sales were off 13.7 percent to $512 million.
Despite the category's steep slide, some component segments posted strong gains. Sales of tuners and amplifiers were up 15 percent and 26 percent, respectively. Sales of amps with built-in surround processors were up 39 percent to $1.3 million. And sales of home theater speaker packages gained 125 percent. Total home audio: Combined sales of home components and systems were down 14.1 percent to $256 million, with cumulative sales falling 7.2 percent to $1.2 billion. Portable audio: In their steepest decline so far this year, portable sales dropped 31.7 percent to a five-year low of $161 million, contributing to an 11.8 percent drop in cumulative sales to $796 million. It was the biggest decline of any month for the category since January 1996's drop of 31.9 percent.
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