Music and PC games are helping the PC speaker category rise well above its humble roots as a $30 entry-level product, where these systems have languished for the past several years.
According to NPDTechworld, Port Washington, N.Y., the PC speaker's average selling price has remained just over $43 since December up from $39 the previous year, said Steve Baker, NPD's director of IT research. This is the first time in three years that the average selling price has been over $40, he added.
Even more impressive, Baker said, is the fact that speaker systems costing in excess of $100 now represent 31 percent, the largest, of the dollar shares for the category. In 2001 speakers priced between $20 and $40 commanded the dollar share and these continue to lead the category in unit share.
This trend translated into dollar revenue increasing a modest 2.5 percent in the first quarter of 2002, compared to the same period in 2001, and unit volume decreasing 8.5 percent for the quarter.
This trend is being driven by vendors and retailers with the former trying to cater more to the gaming market and growing number of audiophile PC owners.
"The interest in PC music is finally translating into the need for better PC speakers," he said.
Baker said retailers are focusing their promotional efforts on the more expensive models.