By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
The economy might be turning a corner, but as of June, the audio industry was still falling off a cliff.
Factory-level audio sales fell at double-digit rates in June and the first half because of sagging sales in all key audio segments: portables, home components, home systems and aftermarket autosound.
Total industry sales fell 17.8 percent for the month to $582 million and 15.6 percent for the first half to $3.02 billion. It was the largest first-half decline since 1996's drop of 7.5 percent.
First-half sales fell for the third consecutive year following declines of 1.3 percent and 5.9 percent in 2002 and 2001, respectively. First-half sales rose only once during the past five years, and that was a robust 11.9 percent in 2000.
Coincidentally, the previous decade also started out strong. First-half 1990 sales were up 29.3 percent, but the decline fell into the low single digits during the next three years.
Here's what happened in June and the half in each audio product segment:
Portable audio: Sales, including home radios, held up better than any other audio segments in June, when sales fell only 5.2 percent to $197.3 million. Portable sales were down 10.2 percent to $820.4 million for the half.
Aftermarket autosound: Sales suffered unintended deceleration in June, when sales fell 13.5 percent to $175.6 million. June's performance contributed to a drop in first half sales by 9.7 percent to $1.1 billion.
Home systems: Once the home audio industry's driving force, system sales suffered a more severe fate than portables. Sales fell 24.5 percent in June to $139.1 million, helping drag down first-half sales by 21.5 percent to $686.8 million.
Home components: Sales collapsed in June, when a 37.9 percent decline to $70.1 million helped drag down first-half sales by 27.9 percent to $410.1 million.
Total home audio: The combined decline in home-system and home-component sales has been so severe that their combined first-half volume fell short of autosound's volume for the first time ever. Home audio volume fell to $1.096 billion compared to autosound's $1.101 billion.
Autosound sales slowly caught up over the decades. In 1990, first-half home audio sales of $1.37 billion exceeded autosound volume by more than two times.June, First-Half Audio Sales
|Portables*||$197.3 (-5.2%)||$820.4 (-10.2%)|
|Home Components**||$70.1 (-37.9%)||$410.1 (-27.9%)|
|Home Systems***||$139.1 (-24.5%)||$686.8 (-21.5%)|
|Aftermarket Autosound||$175.6 (-13.5%)||$1,100.6 (-9.7%)|
|Total Audio||$582.0 (-17.8%)||$3,017.9 (-15.6%)|
|Source: CEA, Arlington, Va. ©TWICE 2003|
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