GfK: Wireless and multi-room audio sales exceed $110m

Bluetooth speakers drive the market.

Written by GfK consumer choices director, Neil Frackiewicz

Listening to music wirelessly may not be a new trend, but GfK sales data shows that the wireless audio player* market continues to perform strongly. Overall sales so far in 2017 (January – May) are in excess of $110 million, an increase of 7% compared with the same period last year.

So which kinds of products are driving this growth? By far the highest selling segment is Bluetooth Speakers, which have accounted for two-thirds of all wireless audio player sales units so far in 2017, with a 14% increase in sales on last year. The huge range of brand and model choices, broad retailer distribution that the accessible price points allow; as well as ease-of-use, have helped fuel this growth.

Continued strong large screen TV sales have helped generate additional demand for soundbars. 20% of 2017 soundbar sales were via wireless, multi-room capable models, which have seen growth of 36% this year. Their relatively high price points mean that these models accounted for 41% of the market’s value. In addition to large screen TV growth (50”+ models have grown by 24% so far in 2017), increasing affordability & broadening ranging have been other important contributing factors.

The increasingly widespread usage of music streaming services have helped drive growth in multi-room, or smart speakers. Despite solid growth of 16% in 2017, this remains a niche segment in the market, accounting for only 2% of sales. The added functionality that these products have, means that even entry-level models command a significant premium over the most popular Bluetooth speakers, reflected in the fact that smart speakers’ value contribution to the market is almost double this figure.

A separate category where wireless technology is having a major impact is Headphones. Sales of Bluetooth models have grown by 87% so far this year, more than doubling their value sales share from 24%, to 51%. The number of different Bluetooth models selling so far in 2017 now exceeds 250, an increased of 42% on the same period last year, with particularly strong sales growth being seen in the over-ear segment.

At GfK, we continuously monitor and analyse trends in the audio hardware market via our sales tracking & consumer research services. A key topic on the horizon is the arrival of personal assistants, such as Amazon Echo & Google Home, which, based on the evidence from other countries are sure to have a major impact here.

For more information on the Audio market, please contact Neil Frackiewicz via au@gfk.com or (02) 9900 2888.

*Audio/Hi-fi Systems, Multi-room Speakers, Bluetooth Speakers, Radio Devices & Soundbars.

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