Audio Sales Continue To Go Boom

According to numbers just released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), April audio factory-to-dealer sales shot up by 13% to $611 million, representing a year-to-date increase of 10%. The CEA says that audio revenues in all categories except aftermarket autosound experienced double-digit growth in both monthly and year-to-date sales. Aftermarket autosound remained steady, keeping pace with its record-breaking sales in 1999.

Also noted: revenue from portable audio sales grew 24% during April, reaching a total of $172 million. The CEA adds that almost every subcategory in this sector leaped in growth during the month. Portable CD products accounted for nearly two-thirds of all revenue in portable audio during April with a 26% increase. The year-to-date total for portable audio is up 19% over 1999 for a total of $625 million.

The numbers also reveal that sales dollars from separate components grew 12% to $112 million in April. The largest growth areas for the month were home CD equipment, flourishing at 46%, and home speakers, growing to 13%. The CEA states that home audio CD-R units were a major contributor to the growth of CD equipment, generating $13.7 million in sales during April alone. For the year thus far, 12% of all home CD units sold have been CD-R units, accounting for almost 30% of total home-CD unit revenue.

The CEA's Gary Shapiro comments that "the increased sales of these audio products is a result of the value consumers place on the flexibility and quality of digital recording. It truly supports our premise that the Digital Age and the products it brings enhance the workstyle and lifestyle of the consumer. It also reaffirms the need to balance copyright protection with the need to preserve reasonable and established consumer recording practices."

Finally, the report indicates that audio system sales grew 23% to $144 million in April, while year-to-date figures put this category 11% ahead of this same period last year. Within the sector, home theater-in-a-box revenues have reached $76 million so far this year, up 72% over the first four months of 1999.