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Amazon and Harman Wrestle for the Global Home Audio Crown, as Shipments Climbed 20% Year-on-Year

Home Audio Market Research, Analysis and Commentary

26 Apr 2019 - Home audio equipment shipments continue to climb, growing globally by nearly 20% year-on-year in Q4 2018, according to the Home Audio Tracker Report from Futuresource Consulting.

“Amazon regained its position as the leading home audio vendor in terms of quarterly shipments, wrestling the crown from Harman/JBL, which dropped into second place,” commented Guy Hammett, Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “However, Harman/JBL’s strong performance between Q1 and Q3 was enough for it to achieve top home audio vendor for full year 2018. In revenue terms, Harman/JBL, Bose, Sony and Sonos led the pack consistently throughout the year.”

Futuresource Consulting confirmed that home audio shipments reached nearly 59 million units in Q4, achieving a value of $6.8 billion. The market is trending positive and, although volume growth continues to outpace value growth in most segments, there are plenty of opportunities for vendor success. Home audio has huge appeal for consumers and the passion shows no signs of waning.

Across all categories, products with integrated voice assistants grew to 41.8% of Q4 shipments, up from 27.5% in Q4 2017. Smart speaker shipments increased by 78.7% year-on-year, and soundbars achieved 6.3% volume growth, the only category to see value outperform volume, up 11.3% year-on-year.

“Looking to the countries, China experienced the quickest growth by far,” says Hammett, “with combined shipments increasing by 117% year-on-year, while Russia took second spot with 31% growth. Regionally, when we remove China from the equation, Eastern Europe was the region with the highest unit growth, up 19.4% year-on-year, with APAC, excluding China, up 17.9%. META returned to growth after a poor Q3, while Latin America declined 3.2%.

“Demand in the developed markets of North America and Western Europe continues to be driven by smart speaker shipments, up 42% and 73% respectively. When we combine all product category shipments, North America achieved 12.4% growth, with Western Europe experiencing less than 2% growth, in part due to some countries seeing unusually high shipments in Q3 2018.”

The Futuresource home audio quarterly tracker provides an update on the worldwide home audio market for Q4 2018. It quantifies the market in volume and value from Q4 2016 to Q4 2018, focusing on wireless speakers, soundbars and hi-fi systems.


Futuresource Consulting is a specialist research and knowledge-based consulting company, providing organisations with insight into consumer electronics, digital imaging, entertainment media, broadcast, storage media, education technology and IT. With a heritage stretching back to the 1980s, the company delivers in-depth analysis and forecasts on a global scale, advising on strategic positioning, market trends, competitive forces and technological developments. 

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