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Home Audio Shipments Grow Globally By 20%

Amazon and Harman wrestle for the global home audio crown

Home audio equipment shipments continue to climb, growing globally by nearly 20 percent year-on-year in Q4 2018, according to the Home Audio Tracker Report from Futuresource Consulting.

“Amazon regained its position as the leading home audio vendor in terms of quarterly shipments, wrestling the crown from Harman/JBL, which dropped into second place,” said Guy Hammett, market analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “However, Harman/JBL’s strong performance between Q1 and Q3 was enough for it to achieve top home audio vendor for full year 2018. In revenue terms, Harman/JBL, Bose, Sony, and Sonos led the pack consistently throughout the year.”

Futuresource Consulting said home audio shipments reached nearly 59 million units in the fourth quarter, achieving a value of $6.8 billion. The market is trending positive and, although volume growth continues to outpace value growth in most segments, there are plenty of opportunities for vendor success. 

Across all categories, products with integrated voice assistants grew to 41.8 percent of Q4 shipments, up from 27.5 percent in Q4 2017. 

Smart speaker shipments increased by 78.7 percent year-on-year. Soundbars achieved 6.3 percent volume growth — the only category to see value outperform volume — up 11.3 percent year-on-year.

“China experienced the quickest growth by far,” said Hammett, “with combined shipments increasing by 117 percent year-on-year, while Russia took second spot with 31 percent growth.”

“Demand in the developed markets of North America and Western Europe continues to be driven by smart speaker shipments, up 42 percent and 73 percent, respectively,” added Hammett. “When we combine all product category shipments, North America achieved 12.4 percent growth, with Western Europe experiencing less than 2 percent growth, in part due to some countries seeing unusually high shipments in Q3 2018.”

Futuresource’s tracker quantifies the market in volume and value from Q4 2016 to Q4 2018, focusing on wireless speakers, soundbars, and hi-fi systems.

See also: The Lucrative (And Growing) Niche Of Luxury Audio