Against the odds, home audio category shows strong Q2 growth says Futuresource

posted on Monday, 31st August 2020 by Steve May

Smart speaker  home cinema  Hi-fi 

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The global home audio business has posted an unexpectedly strong performance in Q2 2020, delivering 20 per cent shipment growth and 10 per cent value growth quarter-on-quarter, according to Futuresource Consulting’s latest quarterly tracker.

The findings contradict early suggestions this year that Q2 would be significantly worse than Q1. As well as the market growing quarter-on-quarter, volume has also outperformed Q2 2019. The Futuresource report supports anecdotal evidence heard by Inside CI, that home audio brands have actually seen business booming during the period.

“Our findings show the category was hit hard in April, as expected, but that was followed by a convincing return to strength in May and June,” explains Guy Hammett, Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “As with Q1, there have been some widely varying regional differences. APAC has led the rebound, driven by a strong performance from China, as life there regained a sense of normality in Q2. North America and Western Europe are also outperforming many other regions, with extensive government interventions cited as the primary contributor to the strong performances in these economies.”

It seems buyers have been snapping up bargains, as volume outperformed value. One standout success has been soundbars, presumably benefitting from an upswing in home entertainment usage during lockdown.

Smart speakers have also achieved double digit year-on-year growth.

Conversely, the wireless Bluetooth speaker category has been much less stable. Sales dropped in April, had a moderate recovery in May and performed well in June. One suggestion is that as the devices are typically used outside, there wasn’t a great deal of call for them during lockdown.

The market analyst says Q3 shows promise for the category.

When it comes to traditional audio brands. Only JBL has made headway against the tech giants who dominate the sector.

“Looking to the brands, smart speaker vendors continue to capture share and dominate the overall home audio market,” says Hammett, “Tech giants such as Amazon, Google, Baidu, Alibaba and Xiaomi are crowding out the traditional audio brands, with JBL the only audio brand to gain a position in the top five based on unit brand share.”

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology specialist who also writes for T3TechRadarHome Cinema Choice, Trusted Reviews and The Luxe Review.

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