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Home audio market still struggling, but volume and value growth on the horizon

Home audio hardware continues to face challenges in the post-COVID world, with global volume and value both decreasing in 2023. That’s according to the latest market report from Futuresource Consulting; however, the research firm also notes that the sector will begin to make positive progress over the next few years.

“There is no doubt that shipments of home audio hardware were hit hard last year,” says Kavish Patel, Research Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “We saw double-digit contraction, which resulted in 174 million shipments worldwide, down from 194 million in 2022. And while retail value also experienced downwards pressure, it was less pronounced, at just 6%.”

Smart speakers dominate wireless offerings

Wireless speakers commanded the largest share of the total market, accounting for more than four in every five home audio shipments. Digging into the detail, smart speakers were responsible for over half of all wireless speaker shipments in 2023, with low prices and multiple ownership driving sales.

Yet 2023 was a lacklustre year for wireless, with key brands such as Amazon and Google failing to release many new products, and contributing to a slump in sales. In contrast, Apple released its new Homepod Gen 2 in 2023, which boosted performance and bucked the wider industry’s downward trend.

Moving through the second half of 2024 and beyond, Futuresource expects to see widespread growth for wireless speakers, with developing countries outperforming the saturated markets in developed regions.

A change of focus for soundbar brands

The soundbar market experienced an accelerated rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, with shipments expanding by 13% year-on-year in 2021. This was driven by consumers confronted with lockdown measures, spending more time at home, and exploring their options for home theatre entertainment.

Since then, this segment has seen a steady decline in unit shipments. However, vendors are increasingly focusing on high-specification audio, to evolve the soundbar from primarily a TV accessory to an audio device in its own right. In addition, Futuresource expects consumer replacement and upgrading patterns to kick in from 2025 onwards and propel the market forward.

Eastern Europe leads the way to growth

“Looking to the geographies, Eastern Europe was the only region to post year-on-year growth in 2023,” says Patel. “It is still a relatively immature market and will continue to present opportunities for home audio vendors. Our forecasts show that Latin America and META will also flip back into the black this year, with all other regions returning to growth from 2025.

“With all this combined regional expansion, we anticipate the global home audio market will achieve a shipment CAGR of 3.1% out to 2028, culminating in 190 million units. Revenue will accelerate at a higher rate, and generate $26 billion in 2028. Beyond the steady and continuing decline of Hi-Fi systems, the future of the home audio market is certainly sounding safe and secure.”

Futuresource Consulting’s Home Audio Worldwide Market Outlook report provides analysis and forecasts for wireless speakers, smart speakers, soundbars, A/V receivers and Hi-Fi systems. The report is accompanied by a detailed Excel spreadsheet, which segments data by 38 regions and countries. For more information or to make a purchase, please contact Leon at

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About the author

Kavish Patel

Kavish Patel joined Futuresource in June 2022 and produces market reports and quarterly trackers on the home audio market.

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