September Audio Sales Sink To Decade-Old Levels

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Audio sales are falling faster than Taliban strongholds.

September's factory-level audio sales plunged to their lowest level in a decade, with a 20 percent decline to $733 million contributing to the year's worst quarterly decline, according to Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) statistics.

Third-quarter sales were off 14.1 percent to $2.01 billion compared to Q1 and Q2 declines of 1.2 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively. Cumulative 2001 sales fell 9 percent to $5.63 billion.

September's industrywide sales were the lowest since 1991's $640 million, and the month's $326 million home audio volume (components and systems combined) was the lowest of any September since 1991's $303 million.

Here's how the categories fared:

Systems: Sales of shelf, rack and home-theater-in-a-box electronics/speaker systems plummeted 10.9 percent in September to $217 million, contributing to a Q3 decline of 2.3 percent to $601 million and a year-to-date decline of 1.5 percent to $1.46 billion. The quarterly and YTD figures reflect upward revisions in system sales in June, July, and August.

Aftermarket car: September's 14 percent decline to $192 million helped drive down Q3 sales by 9.5 percent to $522 million and cumulative sales by 3.8 percent to $1.64 billion.

Portables: Sales in this segment, including home radios, fell 26.5 percent in September to $215 million, with Q3 sales falling 23.6 percent $574 million and nine-month sales falling 15.5 percent to $1.59 billion.

Components: A 30.6 percent decline in September sales to $109 million helped push down Q3 sales by 21 percent to $312 million and nine-month sales by 16 percent to $943 million.

Home audio (components, systems combined): September sales fell 18.6 percent to $326 million, with cumulative sales dropping 7.7 percent to $2.4 billion.

September, Q3, Year-To-Date Factory-Level Audio Sales

(in millions)


Third Quarter



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