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Economy Hits Audio Hard: NPD

Port Washington, N.Y. — Most major segments of the home audio industry contracted at the retail level through October, but generally not as much as the value of your 401(k) plan, The NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service found.

Only MP3-docking speaker systems posted sales gains among the top audio categories, NPD found. Unit sales of MP3-docking speakers rose 14 percent at the retail level to 3.3 million, although dollar sales rose only 2 percent to $302.2 million. The statistics include iPod-docking clock radios and tabletop radios.

The home theater in a box (HTiB) system, compact stereo and home-speaker segments, however, contracted at double-digit percentage rates in units and dollars, while A/V receiver sales contracted only at single-digit rates, according to the NPD service, which tracks sales through major brick-and-mortar and online retailers, excluding Wal-Mart.

Sales of A/V receivers fell 8 percent in units to 866,000, while dollar sales fell 6 percent to $308.1 million. Sales of home speakers fell 17 percent in units to 1.7 million, with dollar volume slipping by 16 percent to $419.2 million.

In home systems, HTiB sales fell 16 percent in units to 1.3 million, but dollar volume was down only 10 percent to $456.5 million. Compact stereo system sales plummeted 36 percent in units to 805,000 and 31 percent in dollars to $97.8 million.

Within the tracked segments, NPD found that 1 percent of the HTiBs sold during the 10-month period were equipped with Blu-ray players and that 2 percent of the HTiBs were soundbar-type systems. A total of 29 percent of the HTiBs came with included iPod docks.

NPD Home-Audio Sellthrough Units Sales

Source: The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service, Port Washington, N.Y.