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Components, Autosound Sizzle In August

Surging sales of home components and car audio didn’t offset double-digit declines in home systems and portable audio, sending factory-level audio sales down in August by 4.3 percent to $647 million and holding the year-to-date sales level at $4.92 billion, CEA statistics show.

Here’s how each market segment fared:

Home components: Sales gained 19.6 percent to $121 million, helping tip year-to-date sales into the plus side with a 2.9 percent gain to $857 million. August’s gain was the highest percentage gain of any month since October 1995’s 33.4 percent jump. The month also marked the year’s third consecutive monthly double-digit percentage gain and fourth consecutive monthly gain.

Autosound: Sales rose for the fifth consecutive month, this time by 14.6 percent to a record $189 million, contributing to a year-to-date increase of 10.6 percent to $1.6 billion. So far, monthly sales have fallen only once during the year, and six other months were up at double-digit rates.

Portable audio: Products are shrinking in size, but so are sales, which resumed their double-digit sales declines in August following three consecutive months of single-digit gains. August sales fell 17.6 percent to $170 million, contributing to a 9.5 percent decline in year-to-date sales to $1.27 billion. August’s drop was the largest in percentage terms since August 1999’s 18.5 percent drop.

Home systems: What used to be the growth engine in the home-audio industry continued to misfire in August, when sales fell at a double-digit rate for the second consecutive month following three growth months. Sales were off 18 percent for the month to $166 million and 3.7 percent for the year to $1.2 billion. August’s percentage decline was the steepest of any month since February 1996’s 23.2 percent drop.

Total home audio: Combined sales of components and systems were off 5.5 percent for the month to $287 million and off 1.1 percent for the year-to-date to $2.06 billion.

August 2002 Audio Sales

(Factory level, in millions)