BOSTON – Factory-level soundbar shipments in the U.S. will surge 70 percent in units this year to 2.55 million, and retail-level dollar sales will grow 61 percent in dollars to $638 million, following triple-digit percentage growth in both metrics in 2011, Futuresource Consulting forecasts.
Sales this year contrast sharply with 2008 sales, which reached only 31,000 unit shipments and a retail-level value of $90 million.
Despite the growth spurt, the market still has plenty of room to grow, the consulting company said. Only 4 percent of U.S. households will own a soundbar by the end of 2012, and that will rise to more than 10 percent by 2016, said senior market analyst Jack Wetherill.
He attributed growth to consumers attracted by soundbars’ “simplicity and sleek design” and to a need to “enhance the sound of flat-panel TVs whose speakers can be compromised by the shift to ever-thinner designs.”
Growth is also driven by TV makers such as Samsung and Vizio “leveraging their position as leading TV brands to offer soundbars bundled with sets at bargain prices.”
Also in 2012, 98 percent of soundbars shipped will be active models with built-in amplification, and less than 5 percent will incorporate integrated DVD or Blu-ray players.
In other findings, Futuresource said mass merchants and warehouse clubs are increasing their share of the soundbar market by enticing consumers with low-end products.