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A sharp rebound in factory-level audio sales in March and the first-quarter holds out the hope — however naïve — that the industry could post its first annual increase in 2004 after three consecutive years of decline.
March sales jumped 34.7 percent to $695.1 million, helping drive up first-quarter sales by 16.7 percent to $1.627 billion, CEA statistics show. The first-quarter gain was the industry's first in four years.
Despite the advances, March sales were below their 2001 peak of $766.9 million, and first-quarter sales were below their 1995 peak of $1.85 billion, CEA statistics show.
March's gain followed single-digit gains in January and February of 8.8 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.
Here's how each category fared:
Component audio: March's industry gains were led by a rebounding component audio business, which grew an astounding 68.9 percent in March to $116 million and by 26.2 percent in the first quarter to $257.7 million, following a full-year 2003 decline of 18.4 percent. Despite the gains, first-quarter component sales were below levels posted in every year in the 1990s and 2000s except for 2003.
Portable audio: Portables sales, including home radios, shot up 47.9 percent in March to $183.3 million and by 37.1 percent in the first quarter to $400.2 million.
Home audio systems: Sales skyrocketed 42.4 percent in March to $151.5 million, but declines in January and February held back first-quarter growth to 7.4 percent. First-quarter volume was $331.3 million.
Total home audio: Combined sales of home components and systems rose 52.8 percent in March to $267.5 million and 14.9 percent in the first quarter to $589 million, but first-quarter sales were still below their 1995 peak of $747.7 million.
Autosound: Aftermarket sales jumped 12.6 percent in March to $244.4 million, helping drive up first-quarter sales by 8.1 percent to a record $637.7 million.March, Q1 Audio Sales
|Portables1||$183.3 (+47.9%)||$400.2 (+37.1%)|
|Home Components2||$116.0 (+68.9)||$257.7 (+26.2%)|
|Home Systems3||$151.5 (+42.4%)||$331.3 (+7.4%)|
|Aftermarket Autosound||$244.4 (+12.6%)||$637.7 (+8.1%)|
|Total Audio||$695.1 (+34.7%)||$1,626.9 (+16.7%)|
|(1) includes home radios|
(2) Consists of electronic components, speakers
(3) Consists of shelf, rack and home-theater-in-a-box electronics/speaker systems
|Source: CEA, Arlington, Va.|
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.