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Soundbars star in another strong year for home audio

Market rises 4% to $19.8 billion in 2020, according to Futuresource Consulting

The value of the home audio market was the highest it has ever been in 2020, rising 4% to $19.8 billion with soundbars and wireless speakers the standout categories, according to Futuresource Consulting. The organisation tracks the market by quarter “to a high level of granularity”, measuring the trends and developments of key product types in both sales volume and retail value.

“Upon examination of last year’s data, we found Soundbars and Wireless speakers to be the standout categories, with consumers spending 9% and 7% more than 2019,” explained Patrick Montgomery, home audio and consumer electronics analyst at Futuresource.

“Wireless speakers have seen strong growth in recent times and their success in 2020 was not unexpected,” he continued. “However, the resurgence of the relatively mature soundbar category has been encouraging to audio vendors and TV brands alike.”

Amongst the key drivers of this growth is what Montgomery describes as a “great dispersion of cinema into the home”. Particularly in the developed world, consumers have been yearning for a more immersive experience in their living rooms, he explained. This was only accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic which has increased music and video consumption.

“With various forms of leisure made impossible by Covid restrictions, many have turned to Television and film for comfort, spurring interest for an immersive movie theatre experience which a 3D audio capable Soundbar can provide,” said Montgomery. “Unsurprisingly, some of the highest performing companies over the past 12 months have been those involved in streaming with the likes of Amazon Prime, Apple and Netflix all competing for consumers time with seemingly limitless budgets. In addition to this, Warner Bros decisions to launch every 2021 movie on HBO Max simultaneously with theaters will strengthen the desire for high quality home theatre solutions this year, particularly if other media companies follow suit.”

Futuresource expects this trend to continue, as additional vendors include 3D audio in Soundbar models at accessible price points, and projects that this balance of innovation alongside falling prices is set to catapult 3D audio soundbars to over 12 million units in 2024, over 50% of the entire market.