The professional loudspeaker market, currently valued at $2.6 billion worldwide, is on track to reach $3.6 billion by 2021, according to a new market report from Futuresource Consulting.
"The times are changing for the pro loudspeaker industry, with a range of challenges that will test manufacturers and ultimately open up new opportunities across the entire landscape," said Chris McIntyre-Brown, associate director at Futuresource Consulting.
"In this maturing market, it's no longer just about being in the right place at the right time. Brands are placing a greater emphasis on data analytics and research to identify growth opportunities."
The importance of data and strategy has been amplified by private investment acquisitions made by the likes of Ardian (for d&b Audiotechnik) and Transom Capital Group (for Loud Technologies, which includes Mackie, Ampeg, EAW and Martin Audio brands), and Samsung's acquisition of Harman.
"With access to growth capital and greater commercialisation, watch out for strategies built around integrated, sustained campaigns which achieve KPIs, yet maintain brand integrity," stated McIntyre-Brown. "It's a balancing act that needs to preserve the hard-earned customer relationships, which have traditionally been critical to success."
According to the research, installed leisure and installed commercial verticals lead the way for market development, continuing to post healthy growth out to 2021 and beyond. Although the installed leisure segment provides higher value projects, the number of opportunities in the installed commercial segment is far greater.
Moving forward, the brands that will succeed will be those who reinvent themselves as end-to-end solution providers
Chris McIntyre-Brown, Futuresource Consulting
Touring brands are beginning to target the installed leisure segment, opening up new opportunities for growth as customers begin to place a greater emphasis on the quality of the loudspeakers installed.
In the installed commercial segment, there is a sub-segment emerging that is placing increased importance on sound quality, leading to higher value installs being completed. Examples include retailers creating an immersive customer experience and improved intelligibility in public transport.
APAC is said to be the fastest growing market, with the region predicted to overtake the EMEA region by the end of 2017 to become the second largest market after the Americas, and Futuresource research shows that it will be worth $1.3 billion by 2021. EMEA is the slowest growing market, but still continues to expand with continued growth out to 2021.
"Moving forward, the brands that will succeed will be those who reinvent themselves as end-to-end solution providers," explained McIntyre-Brown. "When it comes to installation, being able to offer a complete system which includes amplifiers, microphones, networking, zoning systems and security systems could be the difference between winning and losing. Bosch is already successfully doing this and Harman is well placed to do the same.
"The portable sound market, where compact systems are a growth product, also holds great opportunities for a consolidated offering, as does the touring market, where matching up speakers, amplifiers and digital signal processing devices is a core requirement."
"Watch out for the brands that can build relationships and form partnerships, either from a product or channel perspective. These will be the ones that survive and thrive in the new audio environment, where software integration, networking, sound monitoring and production tools all converge upon the pro loudspeaker ecosystem."