Survey: Component Audio Interest Rising

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ALPHARETTA, GA. – Consumer interest in purchasing one or more separate home-audio components rose slightly in the past year, with 39 percent of surveyed adults expressing an interest in buying one or more components in the next year, up from 35 percent in a year-ago survey, a MarketSource survey of consumers found.

The results show plenty of potential for component home-audio retailers despite minimal economic growth in the first quarter.

The most potential exists in speakers. Like last year, consumers who are likely or definitely planning to buy an audio component in the next year are more likely to buy speakers than any other type of component.

The next highest level of interest occurred equally in A/V receivers and preamp/surround processors, followed by interest in purchasing amplifiers.

Compared to last year, interest levels increased the most in speakers, followed by A/V receivers, preamp/ surround processors, and amplifiers, in that order.

The top three reasons cited by consumers for their interest in buying a new audio component of any type were, in order, improving music playback quality, (54 percent), replacing an older component (45 percent), and improving the surround-sound quality of movies and TV shows (40 percent.)

These are some of the top-level findings from a nationwide on-line consumer survey conducted exclusively for TWICE by MarketSource, a provider of integrated sales and market services and market research.

For the survey, components were described as separately purchased products such as A/V receivers, preamplifer/processors, surround processors, preamplifiers, and speakers that let consumers listen to stereo music or to movies/TV programs in surround sound.

Among other key findings:

• a majority of households (68 percent) surveyed own some type of audio component compared to 62 percent in last year’s survey.

• among people who don’t own components and who are not interested in buying components, cost is cited by a plurality (36 percent) for their disinterest.

Here are some of the survey’s details:

Components of interest:

In finding that 39 percent of surveyed adults were interested in buying one or more components in the next year, MarketSource combined the percentages of consumers who said they would definitely buy and the percentages describing themselves as likely to buy.

In breaking out the combined results, Market- Source found that 12 percent of the surveyed adults described themselves as definitely planning to buy one or more components, the same as last year’s 12 percent. Another 26 percent said they would likely purchase a component, up from the previous year’s 23 percent.

Among all consumers surveyed, interest was highest in buying speakers. A total of 39 percent were interested in buying speakers, up from a year-ago 19 percent. This year, 12 percent said they would definitely buy, and 27 percent said they are likely to buy. Both of those percentages are up from last year’s 8 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

The products with the next highest buying-intention percentages are AV receivers and preamp/surround processors. Each component type was cited this year by 25 percent of all surveyed consumers, up from last year’s 11 percent for receivers and last year’s 15 percent for preamp/surround processors.

In breaking down this year’s levels of interest, MarketSource found that 7 percent of all surveyed consumers said they would definitely buy an AV receiver in the next year, and 18 percent described themselves as likely to do so. The results were the same for preamp/ surround processors.

Like last year, consumer interest in buying a component amplifier was lowest among all component types, but not by much, at 22 percent (6 percent definitely, 16 percent likely). That’s up from a year-ago 10 percent.

Why buy:

The reasons that consumers say they intend to buy one or more audio components in the next year did not change much, in percentage terms, compared to last year’s survey.

The reasons cited this year by respondents interested in buying any type of audio component were, in order, to improve the sound quality of music (54 percent), replace an older component (45 percent), improve the surround-sound quality of movies and TV shows (40 percent), to add surround sound (37 percent), to boost power output (27 percent), and to replace a broken component (23 percent).

Last year, the top reason was adding surround sound (48 percent), followed by improving the sound quality of music (44 percent), replacing a broken component (38 percent), improving surround-sound quality (35 percent), replacing an older component (29 percent), and boosting power output (22 percent).

Among those interested in buying A/V receivers and speakers, the top reason cited for buying each was the same: improving music playback quality (58 percent for A/V receiver purchase intenders and 62 percent for speaker-purchase intenders).

For A/V receiver purchase intenders, the next two most-cited reasons were replacing older components (53 percent) and improving surround-sound playback quality (29 percent), in that order.

For speaker purchase intenders, the second- and third-most cited reasons were improving surroundsound playback (50 percent) and adding surroundsound playback (48 percent).

The top three reasons for wanting to buy a preamp/ processor were the same reasons given by speaker-purchase intenders: improving music quality (55 percent), improving surround-sound quality (49 percent), and adding surround sound to their audio system (48 percent).

Other responses for all component types included replacing broken components and boosting audio system power output.

Why not buy:

As in last year’s survey, price was the reason most often cited for a lack of interest in buying components. Among respondents who don’t own a component and aren’t interested in buying, price was cited by 36 percent in 2011 and 43 percent in 2010. Other top reasons cited this year were current ownership of an HTiB system (32 percent), ownership of a compact tabletop stereo system (18 percent), and ownership of an iPod speaker system (16 percent.)

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