Another Hot Season for Audio Products

The healthy trend for the audio market continues: the Consumer Electronics Association reported last week that revenues from factory shipments of audio products to dealers this February increased by 8% over last February, to a total of $542 million. "The fantastic sales in February spurred the year-to-date total for audio sales to more than $1 billion; a 6% increase over the first two months of 1999," said the CEA.

According to the CEA, the portable audio sector posted the largest increase in the month, climbing 16%, to revenues of $135 million. The CEA says that contributing to the success in the sector were sales of digital portable audio products such as headset CD players and CD boomboxes, which grew by 39% and 15%, respectively. Together, these two products comprised more than $80 million of the month's $135 million total earnings in portable audio. In the year-to-date figures, the CEA reports that portable audio sales are up by 6% over 1999.

The statistics also reveal that sales of audio systems this February grew by 11% over the first two months of last year, to $118 million. The CEA says that the growth in systems was fueled by sales of compact systems, which typically comprise close to 80% of the sector. Sales of compact systems grew by 15% during the month, to a total of $94 million. Also contributing to the growth in systems were sales of home-theater-in-a-box products, which have thrived so far this year. Also, figures show that home-theater-in-a-box revenues are currently 40% ahead of their total during the first two months of 1999.

The CEA says that the current leading sector of the audio market, aftermarket autosound, posted its 20th consecutive month of growth in February, with revenues of nearly $177 million. The aftermarket autosound sector is currently 3% ahead of 1999 in the year-to-date total, with revenues of close to $315 million.

Finally, rounding out February's stellar sales, the CEA reports that the home-audio separates sector grew by 7% over last February, to revenues of $118 million. The CEA says that spurring the growth in the sector were sales of emerging CD-R products, whose "strong introductory sales" have helped to grow the total home CD equipment subcategory by 30% over last February. In the year-to-date figures, home CD equipment revenues have reached nearly $49 million, an increase of 17% over the first two months of 1999; sales of CD-R products comprised nearly 20% of this figure.

In related news, Tweeter Home Entertainment Group announced positive results for the quarter ended March 31, with an increase in total revenue of 40.5%, to $87.5 million, up from $62.2 million in the same period last year. Tweeter says that comparable store sales increased by 12.2%, excluding the Home Entertainment and DOW Stereo/Video chains. As for the bottom line, the company reports that net income for the quarter increased 88%, to $2.7 million, from $1.4 million for the same period last year.