Total Audio Sales Up Nearly 10% in First Quarter

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) reports that factory-to-dealer sales of audio products soared in March, with dollar volume increasing by 14% over March 1999, to a total of more than $721 million. According to the CEA, sales in the first quarter of this year were 10% ahead of first-quarter 1999, at approximately $1.75 billion.

The CEA says that "Sales of separate home audio components showed tremendous growth," increasing by 16% over last March. The industry group states that growth in component sales was fueled by strong sales of the three main components subcategories: receivers, CD equipment, and speakers.

The CEA also reports that sales of receivers grew by 23% in the first quarter, to a total of $132 million, with Dolby Digital receivers comprising more than $100 million of those sales. "Home CD equipment is also having a great year, growing by 17% in both the month and the year-to-date. This growth is largely due to particularly strong shipments of CD-R products," says the report. Finally, sales of home speakers were shown to have grown by a healthy 39% in March, leading to a first-quarter total of $116 million.

As in the last several quarters, leading the March charge of strong increases in audio sales were portable audio products. During that month, says the CEA, sales in this sector grew by 35% over last March, to $199 million. The most notable increases in the portable audio sector were in headset CD players and CD boomboxes, which grew by 68% and 34%, respectively. Total sales of portable audio products in the first quarter grew by 17% over 1999, to $453 million.

The CEA's figures for audio systems and aftermarket autosound also showed strong sales growth in the month, posting increases of 10% and 3%, respectively. The CEA points out that sales of audio systems were up by more than 7% in the first quarter, to a total of $384 million, while aftermarket autosound continued to draw the largest share of audio revenues, posting a 3% growth in the quarter, to a total of nearly $554 million.