Internet’s Share of Car Audio

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Amazon boxes

The Internet’s share of car audio & electronics is hard to peg, but a CEoutlook poll of suppliers, top buyers and analysts found they estimate the Internet’s sales share from 25 to 40 percent.  Internet sales are also still growing, although the growth is said to be slowing.

By way of reference, for the entire consumer electronics market, Internet sales are at about 25 to 33 percent, according to industry reports. Consumer Electronics Association analyst Steve Koenig says that range is plausible.

Looking at individual retailers, Amazon’s 2012 car AV/electronics sales alone were $577 million in car audio and Crutchfield’s 12 volt sales were $100 million, according to the TWICE Top 25 Car Electronics Retailers listing published last June.  We’ve heard estimates for Sonic Electronix’s sales in car audio from $40 to $60 million annually.  These total to about $725 million in sales.

Of course, brick and mortar stores also sell car audio online so if we add sales at,, and others, as well as sales at, it is possible that the online sales are closer to $850 million or more, which would put them at about half the market.

For anyone trying to peg the market share more closely, here is some additional data:

During Black Friday week 2013, Internet sales accounted for 55 percent of retail sales in consumer electronics, according to comScore.

For much of last year Best Buy’s online sales accounted for 6 percent of revenue, although the store took steps over Christmas to increase that.

Franchise store chain Al & Ed’s Autosound, Van Nuys, CA said its online sales account for less than 5 percent of its revenue.  Unfortunately, it claims, the only way to be successful on the web is to discount deeply, although there might be exceptions to that rule such as Crutchfield.

What is interesting is that retailers say there are other benefits to selling online beyond contributing to the bottom line.

16-store chain Custom Sounds, Austin, TX, just opened an Internet store on its web site in December.  It says sales are under 1 percent of its revenues but its main purpose for online sales is to improve its search engine placement through Google.

“It allows Google’s crawlers to increase the importance of Custom Sounds, as part of the way their search engine operates.  We do not anticipate more than 2 or 3 percent of sales ultimately to be performed online,” said President Mike Cofield.

Source: CEoutlook

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  1. Not enough Mark up. I can buy stuff online cheaper or close to what I pay the my Distributor, then I have to ask myself is it worth the gas to save the time rather then have it shipped? Also it bough with NO TAX and if its somthing I’m going to keep then I don’t have to pay a tax on it.
    Our States are loosing a lot of money from no tax if its somthing mailed or shipped out of state. There going to have to make this up somehow.
    Not to mention if your buying online your not supporting your local economy.
    But worse is this is all eroding the price of everything and in a lot of cases you get no service after the sale.
    A lot of manufacturers have lost respect for the Mom and pop stores that built there image to start with. All they care about is moving cases of product. Seems to me they would want to protect there hard earned image of quality, and service.
    I can under stand if they made everyone stand by MAP pricing but there not doing it now.
    Mom and Pop stores can’t survive on minimal profits like 10 bucks for a radio. How can you pay the bills buy insurance and pay your help, then what as an owner do you get to take home after a long week of work? Also a lot of the time you have invested all your money into a store to find out its not making you any money anymore.
    Stores are closing right and left stores that have supported the industry for years and years.
    Not to mention the Market share is dwindling.
    Auto Makers are making cars you can put aftermarket into today. Its not just radio next it will be speakers with funky impedance levels and all kinds of stuff. Bose system’s have done that in the past and infinity systems were doing crossed over points from the factory amp that made it hard to replace the factory speaker and have it sound good.
    Manufacturers need to back up the Mom and Pop stores, we are where your next dime is coming from. If you break that partnership your cutting your own lifeline short.
    Sure you might have a OEM division but thats not written in stone and can end at anytime.

    1. bobbg,

      I do not know who you are but your comments read as if you are a retailer…?

      I am going to ask a straight forward and perhaps a tough question. Therefor I do not seek an answer from you in this forum or even in private. BUT the question MUST be considered by retailers who make laments about support from manufacturers.

      Which manufacturers do you as a retailer support?

      IF you can review you brand offering (other than the brand of your own store) and articulate the laments in your comments “except the brands I sell” then you are in good shape. If on the other hand you are selling the brands from the manufacturers about which you are complaining then I contend you have the power to take effective corrective action in order to improve your conditions.

      It is after all is said and done: your business. You have control over how you conduct and present your business to your consumers.

      If you take that control EVERY TIME you have a chance, you may find less desire to lament and more desire (need) to count the money and manage growth.

      Apologies in advance if I have offended you or any other reader.

      On the other hand, absent you (business owners) taking charge of your conditions, somebody else WILL TAKE CHARGE of your conditions. It ain’t likely that somebody else will have your best interest at heart.

      Ray Windsor
      German Maestro

  2. I agree with Amy (writer of the article) that a dead nuts accurate read on the share of sales in 12 volt products enjoyed by Internet resellers is difficult to come by. BUT that share is significant and growing. I think it is critical for specialty retailers to have a presence on the Internet. After all, the consumer no longer uses the Yellow pages to conduct research.

    The key to that presence is how to stand out, deliver a compelling message and resist falling into the “we beat all prices” silliness that is way too common on our websites.

    Specialty retailers can indeed be the best value. Specialty retailers cannot “beat all prices’ for any serious length of time.

    ONE: Define what makes you unique in a concise and compelling manor.

    TWO: Get that message in front of consumers with a consistent SEO strategy.

    HINT: What makes a specialty retailer unique is not often the brands he stocks, rather it is what he does with these products and services.

    Ray Windsor
    German Maestro


    they still need us to install.

    like best buy at the mall.

    it is not chevy and toyota all.


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