Car amplifier and subwoofer sales are off by double digits according to NPD, but specialists are seeing slimmer declines, say industry members.
NPD said year-to-date sales of amplifiers fell 12 percent through May and subwoofer sales dropped 22 percent in the same period over last year (in dollar sales to consumers). The declines are on top of a bad year in 2009: amps were off 26 percent this time last year and subs were down 19 percent. But the picture may be brighter at the car audio specialists. Some say more of the amplifier and subwoofer business is going to the specialists, and less so to big box stores, and many specialists are not tracked by NPD.
JL Audio said its sales are up by double digits over 2009. Memphis and another leading amplifier/speaker company each said their sales were down by single digits.
Mark Miller of Westminster Speed and Sound in Westminster, MD claims, “More and more of the amp and speaker business is going to the specialists…[many of whom] are not reporting to NPD. I think in that category sales are flat. I ran my numbers with JL …and I’m up with JL by 10 percent. My Kenwood business is growing…I think it’s down in the big boxes.”
Miller challenged us to run a poll on the 12vinsider bulletin board asking car stereo specialists how amps and subs are selling. We got a half dozen responses who claimed sales were mainly flat or slightly down, but some stores were up considerably. Not exactly scientific, but it appears specialists may be seeing slimmer declines in the segment.
Photo: JL Audio car amplifier