Smart speaker demand ignites home audio market, report reveals spectacular growth

posted on Thursday, 21st September 2017 by Steve May

Smart home  Smart Speakers  Hi-fi 

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Demand for soundbars may be dipping, and sales of hi-fi systems declining, but global home audio sales are rising, thanks to the new wave of voice enabled Smart Assistant speakers. That’s the finding of Futuresource Consulting’s latest Home Audio Quarterly Tracker.

The analyst reveals total home audio shipments grew 32 per cent between Q2 2016 and Q2 2017 to reach $3.7 billion in revenues. The rapidly developing smart speaker category delivered an extraordinary year-on-year growth of 843 per cent.

Smart speaker shipments reached 4.2 million units in the quarter, with Amazon alone accounting for 82 per cent of overall sales. Google is expected to grow rapidly with its smart speaker products, as it gears up to enter more markets from Q3 onwards. Overall average prices declined 2 per cent for total home audio, however soundbar prices grew in Q2, driven by demand for higher-end products.

The top audio brand in the sector is Harman/JBL, which took a 17 per cent share unit share in the second quarter. In revenues, Bose was the top brand, followed by Harman/JBL and then Amazon.

So where does this leave the high-end audio market? Jack Wetherill, Home Electronics analyst at Futuresource Consulting, tells Inside CI that there remain plenty of opportunities.

“The balance of sales is definitely moving towards Smart Assistant speakers, but those who want the real Hi-Fi experience will be unlikely to trade down their expectations on audio quality for the additional services that Smart Assistants bring,” he says. Demand for smart speakers may speak volumes about the future of the audio market, but sales are impacting impacting Bluetooth speaker sales rather than higher end audio devices, he suggests.

Futuresource Consulting’s worldwide audio report analyses trends, brands, segments, sales and pricing of home audio products in key markets including North America, Latin America, China, The Netherlands, France and the UK.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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