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Professional Loudspeaker Market Begins to Emerge from the Shadow of COVID-19

The worldwide professional loudspeaker market took a big hit last year, with revenues falling by nearly 50%. However, a new report from market research specialists Futuresource Consulting indicates that the overall market will make an accelerated recovery, returning to near 2019 levels in 2023.

“It’s been a hard road for the professional loudspeaker market,” says James Kirby, Senior Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “COVID-19 delivered a payload of government restrictions, construction delays and plummeting market confidence, with crowd-dependent verticals bearing the brunt of the fallout. Touring and rental, portable sound and cinema experienced the harshest declines as live, in-person events were cancelled. This was closely followed by customers hitting the spending brakes to conserve cash.”

Mixed Fortunes across Different Verticals

Overall, the touring and rental market was the most negatively impacted last year. Many rental companies had to close down completely, though a high proportion also operate within integration, and this allowed them to switch focus. Revenue streams were diverted to the more buoyant install markets, or by selling off their rental equipment.

Touring manufacturers felt many of the same effects. Regardless of brand, positioning or regional focus, all manufacturers experienced a severe decline in the touring vertical.

Trends in the portable sound market mirrored those felt in the touring market. Restrictions on events saw the need for portable sound reinforcement quickly drop away. Yet this was offset a little by studio monitor sales to the home market, as well as consumer demand for portable solutions for garden parties and outdoor pop-up events.

Installed leisure was able to ride the COVID storm better than many, providing a pocket of resilience throughout the pandemic. On the whole, this was driven by the momentum behind large installation projects, with many still going ahead. Houses of worship and sport stadia audio upgrades took the pandemic in their stride, thanks in part to donation and broadcast income respectively.

Futuresource’s latest research shows that installed commercial presented the greatest opportunity, with the vertical sustaining the least amount of negativity during 2020. By next year, its 2019 market value will be exceeded, as a result of a range of opportunities across the conferencing and higher education spaces, as well as stability in PA/VA applications. Futuresource expects these opportunities to continue to provide lucrative long-term revenue streams for professional loudspeaker vendors.

APAC shows Stability, but Challenges Lay Ahead for Some Nations

Looking to the regions, APAC was the least affected in 2020, followed by the Americas, with EMEA feeling the most impact and falling in value by more than 50%.

“In recent years, loudspeakers have seen the highest amount of growth in the APAC region,” says Kirby, “and that trend is set to continue, despite the disruption caused by the pandemic. Although countries such as China, South Korea and Japan were the first to be impacted by the pandemic, they also led the pack when lockdown measures started relaxing. Meanwhile, European countries have fluctuated in and out of COVID-19 measures, resulting in a greater struggle during 2020.

“Despite most Asian countries performing better in 2020, some nations now face severe challenges due to vaccine efforts, which are expected to make 2021 and 2022 a more challenging period.”

Strong Recovery Despite Supply Concerns

Across the globe, Futuresource’s research reveals that green shoots are now beginning to break the surface. However, the challenges aren’t over yet. As the market starts to emerge and rebuild itself, with Futuresource forecasts indicating a 30%+ rise in revenue this year, supply issues continue to cause problems for the industry. These issues include strains on logistics, both for manufacturers and channels/tours, as well as component shortages across a variety of materials and chipsets.

“However, our forecasts show a strong recovery for all verticals, with a return to pre-COVID revenue levels by 2023 and a CAGR of nearly 20% out to 2025,” states Kirby, “watch out for an increasing focus on DSP, plus the emergence of Audio over IP strategies as solutions become more affordable.”

For further information on Futuresource Consulting’s professional loudspeaker report, as well as reports on the adjacent areas of microphones, mixing consoles, amplifiers, headphones, DSP and audio interfaces, please contact leon.morris@futuresource-hq.com

About Futuresource

Futuresource Consulting is a market research and consulting company, providing its clients with expertise in Professional AV, Consumer Electronics, Education Technology, Content & Entertainment, Professional Broadcast and Automotive. Combining strong methodologies and unsurpassed data refinement with in-depth market knowledge and forecasting, Futuresource deliver the latest insights and technological developments to drive business decision-making.

Date Published:

James Kirby

About the author

James Kirby

James manages the Professional Audio team at Futuresource, reporting and consulting across product categories including Professional Loudspeakers, Microphones, Amplifiers, Mixers, Content Creation, DSP, Audio Collaboration and more. With a background spanning broader AV, James applies his passion for audio and in-depth knowledge of AV market dynamics to all the areas he covers. With the audio and visual worlds colliding, James is also increasingly involved with Futuresource’s Collaboration services, and frequently provides consultation and reports relating to AV Conferencing.

Harnessing his personal experiences as an end-user in these markets, James is driven by his enthusiasm and passion to bring high-quality research to the pro audio industry. This passion is reflected in his regular conversations with manufacturers and professionals across the supply chain. James holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Business with Economics, with specialisms in Applied Strategy.

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