Newport Beach, Calif. – Retail-level soundbar sales rose 126 percent in the fourth quarter to $245 million compared to the year-ago period and by 82 percent for the full year to $658 million, Quixel Research announced.
For the full year, retail-level dollar sales grew faster than factory-level unit shipments, which rose 68 percent, the company said in citing a 126 percent unit-sales gain in soundbars with external subwoofer.
The company forecasts retail-level soundbar sales will exceed $1 billion in 2013 and jump to well over $2 billion in 2016.
For its report, Quixel counted only amplified soundbars.
“For the past seven years, the focus has been on video, but consumers are realizing that sound completes the picture and are embracing the sound bar category at a heady pace,” said Quixel principal Tamaryn Pratt. The product segment “is quickly starting to erode traditional home theater audio system categories.”
Sales also took off last year because “2012 was really the first year the market saw a wide breadth of products, as well as channel availability and support for the category,” Pratt continued. Soundbars without subwoofer can be purchased for $49 at Wal-Mart or for more than $2,000 for a luxury-brand model with outboard subwoofer at a custom-install shop, she said.
The segment’s quick growth is accompanied by quick change, Quixel found. “The market quickly embraced the streaming audio feature for sound bars, almost all of which utilize Bluetooth technology,” Pratt said. “Sound Bar models with streaming audio capabilities rose to over 1 million units in 2012, while iPod dock models declined for the same time period.”