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September, 3rd-Qtr. Audio Sales Record 5-Year Factory-Level High

ARLINGTON, VA. -Factory-level audio sales rose to five-year highs in September and the third quarter, driving up year-to-date sales by 10.7 percent to $6.19 billion, CEA statistics show.

September’s sales were up 7.9 percent to $916 million on the strength of double-digital gains in aftermarket autosound and home systems, which include shelf, rack and home-theater-in-a-box systems. Third-quarter sales rose 8.6 percent to $2.34 billion at a slightly lower rate than the 11.8 percent and 12.3 percent gains in Q1 and Q2, respectively.

Here’s how each product category fared in the month, quarter and year-to-date:

Autosound: The aftermarket posted its first double-digit gain of the year in September, when sales jumped 11.8 percent to a record $223 million. The gain helped accelerate the third-quarter growth rate to 4.6 percent following gains of 3 percent and 1.9 percent in Q1 and Q2, respectively. For the first nine months of the year, sales were up 3.2 percent $1.71 billion.

September’s turbocharged growth was ignited by a 28 percent gain in in-dash CD sales to $116 million and a 24 percent increase in amplifier sales to $29 million.

Home systems: September’s sales rose 10.8 percent to a record $243 million, contributing to an acceleration of third-quarter growth to 12.2 percent from 7.2 percent and 6.6 percent in Q1 and Q2, respectively. Third-quarter sales hit a record $615 million, contributing to a 9 percent increase in nine-month sales to $1.48 billion.

Portables: September’s 5.1 percent increase to $293 million marked the category’s second consecutive single-digit monthly gain following six months of double-digit gains. As a result, Q3’s 11.3 percent gain to $751 million lagged behind first- and second-quarter growth rates that were more than twice as high.

The third-quarter’s percentage gain, nonetheless, was the highest since 1995, contributing to a 19.2 percent increase in year-to-date sales to $1.88 billion.

For the first nine months, headphone CD sales rose 30 percent to $609 million, and MP3 portable sales were at $78 million on unit sales of 414,000.

Home components: Combined with August’s meager 0.5 percent gain, September’s 3.6 percent increase to $157 million contributed to a modest 4.6 percent Q3 increase to $395 million, signifying a marked slowdown from Q1 and Q2 increases of 14.3 percent and 18.4 percent, respectively.

Because sales posted their ninth consecutive monthly gain in September, 2000 is in line to become the first year since 1994 when the category posted gains every month.

Total home audio: Combined home component and system sales were up 7.9 percent in September to $400 million, helping drive up Q3 sales by 8.9 percent to $1.01 billion. Year-to-date sales are up 10.3 percent to $2.61 billion.

Quarterly Audio Sales

* Includes home radios and MP3 portables.

** Includes shelf, rack and home-theater-in-a-box systems.

Source: Consumer Electronics Association, Arlington, Va.cTWICE 2000