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Global Home Audio Category Returns to Strength in Q2

Home Audio Market Insights and Commentary

The global home audio category posted an unexpected strong performance in Q2 2020, delivering 20% shipment growth and 10% value growth quarter-on-quarter, according to preliminary results from Futuresource Consulting’s latest quarterly tracker. This outcome contradicts industry interviews carried out in March and April, which unanimously suggested Q2 would be significantly worse than Q1. As well as the market growing quarter-on-quarter, volume has also outperformed Q2 2019.

APAC Leads the Way, North America and Western Europe in Recovery

“Our findings show the category was hit hard in April, as expected, but that was followed by a convincing return to strength in May and June,” says Guy Hammett, Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “As with Q1, there have been some widely varying regional differences. APAC has led the rebound, driven by a strong performance from China, as life there regained a sense of normality in Q2. North America and Western Europe are also outperforming many other regions, with extensive government interventions cited as the primary contributor to the strong performances in these economies.”

Volume outperformed value, as consumers focused most of their attention on entry-level models, securing bargains and getting a good deal. This was particularly true for soundbars, which received a boost from the video entertainment boom during lockdown, yet most of the major soundbar vendors have reported stronger sales for lower-end products.

Smart Speakers Dominate

Smart speakers continued to dominate the landscape, appealing to consumers on a number of levels and achieving double digit year-on-year growth. Not only are smart speakers generally low cost and designed for in-home use, which makes them suited to the current climate, but they are also predominantly bought online and have been able to side-step the fallout from physical retail closures.

The Bluetooth speaker category experienced a volatile quarter, with a marked drop in sales in April, followed by a moderate recovery in May and a strong performance in June. As these devices are suited to outdoor use, it is no surprise that they were not seen as a priority during lockdown. However, sales have picked up as lockdowns have eased around the world, and early indications for Q3 also show promise.

Tech Giants in Control

“Looking to the brands, smart speaker vendors continue to capture share and dominate the overall home audio market,” says Hammett, “Tech giants such as Amazon, Google, Baidu, Alibaba and Xiaomi are crowding out the traditional audio brands, with JBL the only audio brand to gain a position in the top five based on unit brand share.”

For more information on the worldwide home audio quarterly tracker from Futuresource, which comprises wireless speakers, smart speakers, soundbars and hi-fi systems, contact Jack Tammaro via

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Guy Hammett

About the author

Guy Hammett

Guy Hammett is a Senior Market Analyst in the Consumer Electronics team at Futuresource Consulting. Guy joined Futuresource in 2016 and has worked in a variety of different Consumer Electronics areas, both continuous tracking services and one-off custom projects, and has specialised in audio research for the last four years.

He currently heads up Futuresource Consulting’s quarterly Home Audio tracking reports and twice yearly market reports forecasting out to 2024 and regularly represents Futuresource at trade conferences across the globe.

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