Sales of Audio Products Remain Hot through the Summer

According to the latest figures from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the month of August showed positive gains in the overall factory sales of audio products to dealers. The CEA reports that sales for the month rose six percent compared to the same period last year, resulting in year-to-date sales of $5.3 billion, an 11.2% rise over last year.

The CEA says that even though sales of home receivers dipped slightly in August (six percent), other categories within separate home audio components experienced double-digit growth. Within this sector, the CEA reveals that CD equipment revenues were up by 27% (largely due to the growing popularity of CD recorders), and sales of separate home speakers increased 10%. Year-to-date numbers show that home audio component sales overall are up 13%, equaling $965 million in sales dollars. The aftermarket autosound sector is running even with last year's figures, however, with $1.5 billion in revenue generated thus far this year.

The CEA credits warm weather with helping portable audio revenues post a 9% increase in August, generating $235 million in sales. This contributed to the 22% increase in sales of portable audio products so far this year, up to $1.6 billion, says the trade group. Within this sector, sales of headset CD players jumped 25% to $85 million, helping this category achieve year-to-date revenues of $511 million, putting it 37% ahead of the first eight months of 1999.

Factory sales of audio systems also experienced double-digit growth, according to the CEA stats, climbing 16% to revenues of $192 million in August. For the year so far, audio system revenues rose 9% over 1999, surpassing $1.2 billion. Helping drive this growth are the compact systems category, which grew 15%, and the home-theater-in-a-box category, which posted a robust 45% increase in August, demonstrating the desire of consumers for one-stop solutions.

The CEA's Gary Shapiro comments that "consumers are increasingly experiencing the immersive aspects of surround sound. Whether it is a family enjoying a home theater experience or a college student listening to digital music files from a PC, clearly, digital audio products are changing the way people listen. This trend will only continue when new formats, such as DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD, bring us new exciting aural experiences and music as we've never heard it before."

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