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Retail Soundbar Sales Jump 31% To $1.5 Billion In 2014

SAN DIEGO — Factory-level soundbar shipments in the U.S. grew 37 percent in 2014, with retail-level dollar volume rising 31 percent to $1.5 billion as models with HDMI and outboard subwoofers gained share, Gap Intelligence said in releasing its Quixel Research fourth-quarter soundbar report.

There were 5,828,079 units shipped in full year 2014, and 1,991,566 shipped in Q4 2014 alone. By comparison, 4,248,627 units were shipped in full-year 2013.

Soundbars’ breakout year was 2013, when retail sales almost doubled, rising 95 percent to $1.15 billion, Gap said. That followed 2012’s 64 percent gain to $590 million.

In the fourth quarter, retail dollar volume rose 38 percent from the third quarter, and by 9 percent compared with the year-ago quarter, to $513 million, accounting for a third of all 2014 revenue, said senior analyst Deirdre Kennedy.

Retail-level unit share by price point remained relatively steady in the fourth quarter compared with the year-ago quarter, with the biggest year-over-year growth occurring in the $300 to $399 price range, whose share grew by 3 percentage points.

HDMI share grew throughout 2014 to account for a 32 percent share of fourth-quarter unit shipments. HDMI soundbar shipments grew in the fourth quarter by 85 percent over the third quarter and 39 percent over the year-ago quarter. Shipments of soundbars without HDMI grew 35 percent in the quarter compared with the third quarter, but were down 6 percent from the year-ago quarter.

Models with external subwoofer units continued to make up the bulk of the market in 2014, with a 55 percent unit share.

Likewise, soundbars with streaming capabilities (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or both) continued to account for the bulk of 2014 unit shipments, with an 83 percent share.