I recently spoke with a longtime high-end audio retailer who is optimistic about the future of the component-audio business.
He pointed to the aging of the echo boom generation, whose members are graduating from college and forming their own households. This generation is as passionate about music as any generation, and they’re primed to move up from ear buds and docking speaker systems to components that vastly improve the quality of their compressed-music libraries. Most could be enticed into buying a $3,000 sound system, he thinks.
Another potential growth sector is the parents of the echo boomers. The baby boomers grew up with component audio, haven’t purchased new speakers in 20 years, and are no longer paying their kid’s expenses — or at least not paying for their college tuition anymore.
These demographic trends bode well for component audio, but perhaps the current economic malaise might postpone audio’s renaissance. The baby boomers are feverishly saving for retirement, having seen their 401(k) plans shrink and their home values plummet. And the echo boomers, because of the economy, are postponing household formation and staying home.
What say you?