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CEA: Sound Bars Raise Sales Bar


Sound-bar sales are
rising swiftly and account for a growing
portion of component home-speaker sales,
according to the latest forecasts from the
Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA).

In sound bars, CEA forecasts a 2010 rise
of 113 percent to $61 million, though gains
will slow to 16 percent in 2012. Within the
category, sound bars packaged with a wired
or wireless subwoofer will rise 159 percent
to $27 million to account for 44 percent of
sound-bar volume, rising to 51 percent of
sound-bar volume in 2011.

In 2009, sound bars accounted for only
6 percent of component-speaker dollar volume
of $484 million, including custom-installed
speakers. Sound-bar share will rise,
however, to 11.4 percent in 2010, to 12.8
percent in 2011 and hit 13.2% percent in
2014, CEA forecasts show.

CEA defines sound bars as comprising
passive unpowered models as well as
powered models with and without virtual
surround processing. Sound bars with builtin
DVD or Blu-ray players are classified as
home-theater-in-a-box (HTiB) systems.

As is usually the case in the CE industry,
unit sales are rising faster than dollar sales,
with unit sales forecast to rise 139 percent
in 2010 to 299,000 units and 21 percent in
2011 to 361,000 on factory-level price declines
of 11 percent in 2010 to $205 and 4
percent in 2011 to $196.

“Sound bars may have initially been designed
— and envisioned — as an affordable
alternative for augmenting the home theater
experience,” CEA said in its forecast,
“but these products have become a legitimate
force to be reckoned with.” With more
powered sound bars coming packaged with
wired and wireless powered subwoofers,
sound bars “may become less a stop-gap
alternative and more a satisfactory solution
for consumers looking to embellish the
sound in their living rooms,” CEA said.