In-Car Premium Audio Rising: IHS

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El Segundo, Calif. - Premium audio systems in cars are projected to reach double-digit sales growth worldwide in 2011 and beyond, IHS iSuppli said, thanks to the proliferation of quality sound systems in mid-range cars.

Global sales in 2011 of premium audio systems will reach 7.9 million units, up 14 percent from 6.9 million units last year, and will hit 13.3 million units by 2015.

Premium audio systems are defined by IHS as having any or all of the following: surround sound, eight or more speakers and 400 watts or more. Branded systems are also included.

This year's sales will yield worldwide revenue of $7.3 billion for the market, the firm noted, which is up 11 percent from $6.6 billion in 2010.

According to IHS, Bose and Harman/Kardon are the leading premium audio system suppliers.

When it comes to trends, the research group said that 5.1 and 7.1 surround formats are growing in popularity, as are matrix systems that synthesize surround sound from stereo, speaker count, class D amplifiers that fit with multichannel audio, and portable music player interfaces.

"An auxiliary input is the least expensive interface, with nearly all premium audio systems sold in the United States currently including the feature," IHS said, with an iPod interface available in 91 percent of U.S. cars.

"The next two years will see the growing dominance of two more interfaces -- USB and SecureDigital," IHS noted.

The research firm's report is titled "Premium Audio: Music to Everyone's Ears."


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