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1st-Half Audio Sales Break Records: CEA

ARLINGTON, VA. — Factory-level sales of portables and home components continued to accelerate at double-digit rates in June, propelling factory-level audio sales to record levels for the month, second quarter and first half, Consumer Electronics Association statistics show.

Total audio sales rose 12.5 percent in June to $728 million, helping drive up second-quarter sales by 12.3 percent to $2.07 billion and first-half sales by 12 percent to $3.85 billion, CEA said. The percentage growth rates for the three periods were the highest since 1990.

The pace of the industry’s expansion accelerated slightly in the second quarter from the first quarter’s 11.7 percent gain, with the portable, home system and aftermarket autosound segments posting record volume for the month, quarter and half.

Component audio sales hit their highest second-quarter and first-half levels since 1996, giving the category its first full-year gain since 1995.

Here’s what the numbers show in each segment:

Portable audio: Sales expanded in June for the eighth consecutive month, with the most recent four months posting growth rates of more than 20 percent. June sales rose 25.2 percent to a record $226 million.

Second-quarter sales hit a record $641 million, rising 24.9 percent to nearly match the first quarter’s 25.7 percent gain. First-half sales jumped 25.4 percent to $1.13 billion.

Within the segment, first-half sales of headphone CD players and CD boomboxes rose 37 percent and 23 percent, respectively, accounting for 62 percent of the segment’s first-half volume.

For the year through June, sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of $2.83 billion, up from 1999’s actual full-year volume of $2.4 billion.

Home components: June’s 22.6 percent gain to $134 million boosted sales for the month to their highest level since 1997’s $147 million. Second-quarter sales rose 18.4 percent to $371 million to their highest level since 1996, signifying an acceleration of growth from the first quarter’s 14.3 percent.

First-half sales jumped 16.4 percent to $727 million, their highest level since 1996, with speaker sales growing 14 percent during that time.

On an annualized basis, first-half audio sales were running at $1.66 billion compared to 1999’s $1.44 billion.

Home systems: June sales grew 3.2 percent to a record $167 million, with second-quarter growth of 6.6 percent generating record second-quarter volume of $485 million. First-half sales were up 6.9 percent to a record of $869 million.

During the first half, seasonally adjusted sales were running at an annual pace of $2.22 billion compared to 1999’s sales of $2.07 billion.

Total home audio: Combined sales of home systems and components rose 11.1 percent in June to $302 million, 11.4 percent in the second quarter to $856 million, and 11 percent in the first half to $1.6 billion.

Aftermarket autosound: Although June sales hit a record $200 million, growth of only 2.8 percent continued the year’s low-single-digit growth trend. Second-quarter and first-half sales hit records of $574 million and $1.13 billion, respectively, but percentage gains for the respective periods were only 1.9 percent and 2.5 percent. Full-year growth in 1999, in contrast, was 13.5 percent.

For the year to date, in-dash CD sales were up 11 percent to account for about 45 percent of all aftermarket sales during the period.