Home audio has quietly been making a comeback. A recent CEA survey shows that more consumers are using accessories to upgrade existing or new hardware. How are those two categories doing?
Mark A. Gustavson, executive director/ marketing and communications, WYNIT:
Home audio systems that can be easily integrated with audio and video online delivery systems are becoming increasingly more popular. This, again, seems to be driven by in-home Wi-Fi networks that distribute content to multiple screens, computers and portable devices. Additionally, mobile users are looking to upgrade their personal audio systems with higher quality ear buds and noise-canceling headphones.
Jeff Davis, sales senior VP at D&H Distributing:
We have experienced a big uptick in home theater in a box (HTiB). Sound bars and iPod docking- enabled merchandise are also selling well. Accessories have a tendency to experience an uptick when consumers vest themselves in new technologies such as 3D, HDTV or even Blu-ray, since they want to get the best experience they can out of an exciting new investment.
Warren Chaiken, president/COO, Almo:
Right now we can pinpoint two key factors attributed to the return of home audio — Blu-ray and iPods/ iPhones. As Blu-ray becomes mainstream, component-style audio systems are becoming more enticing to consumers vs. home theater in a box. We’re also seeing increased volume in iPod/ iPhone docking home audio systems.
Dennis Holzer, executive director, PowerHouse Alliance:
The audio hardware, namely the receiver /amp/tuners, are being replaced and/or upgraded to now better match the newly purchased TV. We have also seen a dramatic increase in all categories that surround and are directly related. Categories such as speakers, iPod docks, remote controls and cables are just a few also being upgraded and purchased at the same time.
Fred Towns, sales and marketing senior VP, New Age Electronics:
Sound overall is becoming much more popular with our retailers and consumers. From home theater in a box to satellite speakers to headphones, we are seeing consumers wanting to have a better experience with sound in both the home and the office. There is also an increased desire for slick, stylish audio like MP3 and Apple-related sound solutions.
David Kaplan, executive director, Digital Delivery Group:
HDMI cables at all price levels have been a hot accessory category. Power protection, particularly units sporting battery backup and new generation wireless products are also selling very well for us. The interest generated by 3D television seems to be coupled with a renewed interest in legacy audio upgrades, which is very good news for us and our dealers.