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Guy Hammett says home audio market’s decline is “not a permanent state”

The home audio market has endured its fair share of turbulence after an unprecedented boom during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the market is wrestling with instabilities, Futuresource Consulting’s new report on the Global Home Audio Market indicates a re-strengthening from 2024 onwards.  

“Despite the challenging conditions, the current market picture is certainly not a permanent state,” says Guy Hammett, Senior Market Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. 

Party speakers rise above the din 

Party speakers continue to shine with Futuresource reporting them as the fastest-growing subcategory in 2022. The higher price segment of $300-$499 is performing particularly well, with 39% of party speakers sold in Q1 2023 falling into this category.  

North America and APAC held the largest party shipment volumes worldwide in Q1 2023, with regions such as META holding a comparatively smaller volume share of 4%.  

“Despite META’s slimmer market share, social media influencing may well increase opportunities in this market in the coming years,” says Hammett. “The region’s youth population is being increasingly influenced to purchase party speakers by YouTube personalities, so the region should not be overlooked.” 

Higher-priced soundbars bolster market in decline 

“Higher-priced product segments are also winning out for soundbars. While the overall market is not performing at its best, vendors are reporting an upsurge for higher-priced soundbars, with those purchasing in higher price ranges less affected by the economic downturn,” says Hammett. 

Soundbars boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching a unit shipments peak of 23.4m in 2021. This was followed by a 3% volume decline in 2022, with a further dip of 7% forecast by the end of 2023. 

“The market is expected to ease into recovery in 2024 and pick up in the subsequent years. As people’s incomes strengthen and the global economic situation improves, consumers will feel confident reinvesting in home audio products like soundbars.” 

3D audio soundbars reach wider audiences 

“Amid the wider market decline, the 3D audio soundbar is soaring, with the product enjoying a 23% rise in volumes year-on-year in 2023,” says Hammett. “Most platforms are beginning to offer Atmos and other 3D technologies, and consumer appetite for the technology is proving significant.” 

Once regarded as a premium feature, 3D audio technology is now making significant strides in lower-price segments. 

Wireless speakers and soundbars gain ground at the expense of Hi-Fi systems 

The wireless speaker market is still adjusting to more regular supply and demand levels, which is stifling growth in the short term. Hi-Fi systems, however, are facing the greatest losses, with Futuresource reporting an 11% decline in global shipments in 2022, with retail value declining slightly less at -10%. “Consumers are moving more towards wireless speakers and soundbars, which is cutting into the strength of Hi-Fi,” says Hammett. 

“We’ll be keeping our ears to the ground at this year’s IFA, to see which products and technologies vendors are focusing their attention to.” 

To enquire about Futuresource’s offerings across consumer audio, including the new Home Audio Market report and the upcoming Audio Tech Lifestyles consumer survey, get in touch with Leon at 

You can sign up in advance to receive a copy of the team’s IFA 2023 post-show review here. 

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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.

Olivia Lowden

About the author

Olivia Lowden

Olivia Lowden is responsible for the long-form content, press, and partnerships at Futuresource. Prior to her career at Futuresource, she completed an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, demonstrative of her lifelong love of words.

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