CEA: Speakers To Drive 4% Gain In Component-Audio Sales

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ARLINGTON, VA. –

Factory-level sales of home audio components will rise 4 percent this year to $915 million, mainly because of double-digit gains in speaker volume despite flat unit sales of speakers, the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) latest audio forecast shows.

The forecast, made midyear, represents a major change in direction for the component-audio industry, reversing two consecutive years of decline.

Factory-level sales fell 25 percent in 2009 to $882 million during the depths of the recession on a 24 percent unit sales decline and were off 7 percent in 2008 on a 9 percent unit-sales decline, CEA statistics show.

Sales are nonetheless still well short of their 21st century peak of around $1.4 billion in 2007, association figures show.

The statistics exclude multi-room-A/V electronics components, from multi-room amp/controllers to in-wall control panels, but include custom-installed in-wall and inceiling speakers. Multi-room-A/V electronics accounted for about an additional $70 million in factory-level sales.

“The prospects for home audio appeared substantially more dire” compared with CEA’s January forecast, the association said.

CEA also forecasts the gains will continue into 2011 and 2012, albeit at a very modest 1 percent rate in both years before declining by 2 percent in 2013 and another 2 percent 2014.

For 2010, speakers will be the main growth driver, rising 11 percent in dollars to $535 million despite flat unit sales, the forecast shows. Dollar sales will rise again in 2011, though only by 4 percent, and rise 3 percent in 2012, CEA forecasts.

Within the speaker category, 2010 in-wall sales will be off 4 percent, wall-mount sales will be of 15 percent, and in-ceiling speakers will be off 11 percent, the forecast shows. Outdoor speakers will be up 1 percent.

Sales of all in-room speakers will also be up, including sound bars, defined by CEA as comprising passive unpowered models as well as powered models with and without virtual surround processing. Sound bars with built-in DVD or Blu-ray players are classified as home theater in a box (HTiB) systems.

In sound bars, CEA forecasts a 2010 rise of 113 percent to $61 million, with gains slowing to 16 percent in 2012. Within the category, sound bars packaged with a wired or wireless subwoofer will rise 159 percent to $27 million to account for 44 percent of soundbar volume, rising to 51 percent in 2011.

In home audio electronics, receivers won’t fare as well as speakers, dropping a forecasted 2 percent to $339 million in 2010 on a 1 percent unit decline to 1.13 million units. In 2011, receiver sales are forecast to drop 1 percent in dollars despite a 2 percent unit gain.

Within the receiver category, surround-equipped models will post 2 percent unit gains in 2010 and 2011 but decline 1 percent in dollars each year.

Receivers with HDMI inputs and outputs, however, will surge 30 percent in units in 2010 to 1.04 million and rise another 3 percent in 2011. In dollars, their sales will rise in 2010 by 12 percent to $333 million but drop 3 percent in 2011, CEA’s forecast shows.

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