CEA: MP3 Speaker Docks Top Home Audio
By Joseph Palenchar On Mar 23 2010 - 8:16am
ARLINGTON, VA. — MP3-player
docking-speaker systems emerged for the
first time in 2009 as the home audio industry’s
largest category by factory-level
dollar volume, even though their volume
slipped for the first time in 2009, Consumer
Electronics Association (CEA) estimates
Factory-level unit and dollar sales have
been rising at double-digit percentage
rates since the first MP3 speaker systems
debuted in the early 2000s, but 2009’s 4.8
percent decline to an estimated $947 million
was much smaller than the declines
experienced by all other major home audio
categories, CEA’s statistics show.
Despite the dollar decline, unit sales of
docking speakers kept on growing, with
unit sales up an estimated 12 percent
in 2009 to 9.24 million and forecast by
CEA to rise more than 8 percent in 2010
to 10 million units.
In 2011, CEA forecasts unit and dollar
growth of 6 percent and 1 percent, respectively,
with 2012 forecast to post flat unit growth
on a 4 percent dollar decline. In 2013, units
will drop 4 percent to 10.2 million, with dollars
falling 6 percent to $887 million.
The statistics exclude iPod-docking
clock radios and tabletop radios, but
when those categories are included, the
influence of iPod docking capabilities on
home audio sales grows further.
In 2010, CEA forecasts that 53 percent of
all 11.2 million clock radios and 67 percent
of all 1.06 million tabletop home radios will
feature iPod docks. So will 31 percent of all
2.62 million home theater in a box (HTiB)
systems, 44.7 percent of all 1.35 million compact
systems, and 45 percent of 1.35 million
compact stereo systems, and 61 percent of
1.15 million component receivers.
Among docking speaker systems, the
share of AC/DC models has been shrinking
as consumers opt increasingly for AConly
models capable of driving higher power
amplifi ers that, in turn, deliver deeper bass
response, higher volume and improved sonic
accuracy, NPD statistics show. In 2009,
57 percent of docking speakers sold to consumers
were AC-only models, up from 50
percent in 2007, NPD statistics show.
Despite their 2009 decline, docking
speakers systems have held up better
than every one of the other key home
audio segments but home/clock radios,
whose sales rose 56 percent in 2009,
CEA estimates show.
Although the 2008 and 2009 freefall
in total home audio sales will abate
in 2010, a return to growth is still a few
years away, according to CEA forecasts.
Factory-level home audio sales fell an estimated
14.1 percent to $2.99 billion in 2009
following a 2008 decline of 9.7 percent, but
the decline will slow in 2010 to a forecast 2.5
percent to $2.91 billion, the statistics show.
Sales will continue to decline in 2012 and
2013 at single-digit rates before sales head
back up in 2013 by 2.6 percent, the statistics
show. The sales comprise home audio
components (including custom-installed
speakers and multi-room-A/V electronics),
compact systems, HTiBs, AC-only
and AC/DC MP3-docking speaker systems,
and home and clock radios.
The segments that suffered the most in
2009 were components, down 27 percent
to $882 million; compact systems, down
35.4 percent to a meager $148 million; and
HTiBs, down percent to $665 million.
Audio components are way off from their
1990 peak of $1.93 billion, and HTiB sales
are below their 2003 peak of $961 million.
Despite the recession’s after effects,
CEA expects MP3 speaker-system sales
to resume growth in 2010 and 2011,
albeit at modest rates.
Marketers cite multiple reasons for resumed
docking-speaker growth. For one thing, the total addressable market is far
from saturated. Household penetration
of MP3 players hit 51 percent in January
2010, but the penetration of MP3 speaker
systems was only 35 percent, CEA
consumer surveys show. Another reason
is that the number of multiple-iPod
households is growing. Consumers buying
their second and third models are
passing on their old ones to other family
members, marketers said, creating opportunities
to sell additional docking speaker
systems into a household. The growth of
multi-iPod households also accounts for
the small-but-growing selection of dualdocking
speaker systems that charge two
iPods or iPhones simultaneously.
Another factor contributing to iPodspeaker
growth is the popularity of the
iPhone, whose high-usage owners are in
constant need of recharging their phone.
Docking-speaker gains will come despite
the influx of home audio products
that incorporate iPod docks as a standard
or optional feature, marketers contend.
Although growing percentages of
A/V receivers, HTiBs and compact stereo
systems come with iPod docks, such
products do not offer the portability advantage
that one-piece tabletop speaker
docks offer, marketers contended.
In 2010, CEA forecasts that 31 percent
of HTiBs sold by suppliers will come with
iPod connectivity, accounting for 40 percent
of HTiB dollar sales. The percentages
are similar to CEA’s 2009 estimates.