After a solid period of decline, interest in both bookshelf and floor standing speakers is on the rise. As a result of the pandemic, consumers spend more time listening to music and watching movies from the comfort of their own homes, resulting in a sharp uptake in sales for the high-end audio equipment market.
The success of products such as the KEF LS series have opened up new opportunities within the bookshelf and floor standing market. However, the uptake of floor standing speakers have, so far, been more muted. These speakers are usually favoured by hi-fi enthusiasts, who often prefer hi-fi separates. This allows them to choose each component of their system and personalise its sonic characteristics to reflect their personal audio needs. In the next few years, active floor standing speakers are expected to grow significantly, but at a slower pace than their active bookshelf speaker counterparts.
“By 2026, we anticipate that 22% of bookshelf speakers will be active,” says Alexandre Jornod, Lead Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “As such, active bookshelf speakers are expected to represent a retail value of over $500 million.”
Indeed, the pandemic has facilitated a further renaissance, thanks to younger consumers beginning to invest heavily in vinyl products. This new pole of customers has further boosted floor standing and bookshelf speakers sales. Indeed, the success of products such as the Kef LS Series have opened up new opportunities within his market.
There are still more modern innovations being consumed by younger demographics, however. Those who predominantly grew up with wireless products are increasingly buying active and wireless speakers. They offer great sound performance, while allowing users to play music using streaming services. Some models also allow users to plug their speakers into a turntable, and even include HDMI ports to use for TV/Movie audio, making these products increasingly versatile.
Indeed, the development of active speakers has been primarily driven by active bookshelf speakers so far, as these products are more compact and affordable than floor standing speakers. Consequently, this makes them more appealing to a mainstream audience.
In addition to the favourable conditions brought by the pandemic and working from home policies, the rise of active speakers has been key in the introducing more consumers to the loudspeaker market, as well as driving an impressive uptake in value terms, thanks to higher value retail prices.
What’s more, consumers have more disposable cash to spend on high-end equipment. With audiophiles looking to upgrade their current systems and new consumers buying loudspeakers to both improve sound quality throughout their living space, but to plug into their turntables too, the market has seen a notable boost.
Yet, supply challenges have prevented some manufacturers from fully meeting the demand set by consumers. However, despite this, the global market has seen strong growth, with volumes increasing by 11% in 2021, and a retail value up by 17% to $2.4 billion.
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