Car Audio Amplifier Shipments Spike in 2014

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The bright spot of car audio was clearly amplifier shipments in 2014, which jumped 13 percent in unit sales to dealers and 12 percent in dollar sales (wholesale), according to the latest report from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

Head unit sales, however fell 4 percent in units and 3 percent in 2014.

The CEA cautions that car audio must innovate “if aftermarket wholesale revenues are to remain above $1 billion.”    The report published this month even says, “The autosound market must evolve or risk extinction at the hands of vehicle OEMS, who now occupy the bleeding edge of automotive technology innovation.”

But it quickly adds that the aftermarket is beginning to do just that. Author Steve Koenig, CEA Director of Industry Analysis sites Directed’s introduction of smartwatch capability for its remote start as an example.

CEA Autosound 2015 2
CEA forecasts for the car audio market in 2015

“We’re starting to see a more robust response from the aftermarket that is meeting or exceeding the technology you might find on the OEM side. The OEMs might have the smartwatch app but not everyone can afford a BMW. Maybe they have a Honda and would still like the features. That’s what’s encouraging to me,” he said.

The aftermarket’s adoption of CarPlay and soon Android Auto are other examples. They may not reverse the decline of car audio, just as other connected car features haven’t, but they will “buoy” sales and slow the decline.

The report also says that wireless hotspots may soon make their way into aftermarket head units.

Overall, the aftermarket declined 2 percent in dollar revenue last year and is forecast to fall 3 percent this year. (See chart above). By way of comparison, the home audio market (not counting portables) will continue to grow at about 4 to 6 percent each year through 2016 in both units and dollars. This is mainly due to the popularity of soundbars.

For the aftermarket, the CEA predicts head unit sales will decline by 5 percent this year in unit sales and continue to roll downhill to a 9 percent decline in 2018.

Analyzed by dollar sales, total head unit shipments will decline by 6 percent this year, with increasing declines each year up to 11 percent by 2018.

While car amplifiers hit double digit growth this year, the segment is only expected to see nominal growth in the next few years. For 2015, look for a 3 percent gain in units and 2 percent in dollars.

Total speaker sales will increase by 2 percent in units and remain flat in dollars this year, predicts the CEA.

Source: CEA

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  1. Where have all the car stereo shops gone, long time passing?
    Where have all , the car stereo shops gone long time ago?
    Where have all the car stereo shops gone?
    The OEM’s have picked them everyone.
    Oh, when will we ever learn?
    Oh, when will we ever learn?

    Anyone smell the roses ?????

  2. On behalf of Andy Wehmeyer:
    I should add here that my comment wasn’t directed at Amy. She didn’t lead with “dead” or “extinction”. I was calling out the CEA and to many other tech media outlets who continually report on the bleeding edge of what they consider to be “innovation”. The vast majority of consumers don’t purchase innovation. They purchase products and key to the success of any product are the concepts of usefulness and value.

    At the same time I read that the aftermarket is being KILLED by the OEMs, I also read that the most annoying and frustrating feature of new cars, as reported in consumer surveys, is the infotainment system. That suggests a value and usefulness problem.

  3. I get the idea that incendiary language sometimes adds interest and makes headlines, but “extinction” is not a billion dollars in revenue in the US, just like PC sales of 100 million units per quarter isn’t “dead”. In addition, the idea that only bleeding edge technology is attractive to consumers is all too common among industry insiders.

    The aftermarket isn’t dead and it isn’t going away. From my vantage point, I see an industry that’s regaining its focus on both automotive and audio enthusiasts. Market data and its analysis is all too often targeted at giant companies focused on unreasonable growth targets that are willing to pay top dollar for supposed insight. No insight is more valuable to MBAs and corner office types than data that confirms their hunches.

    1. Hi Andy. I always appreciate your comments and your point is well taken about a billion dollar market. But in terms of the incendiary language making good headlines and adding interest, I did not put it anywhere near the headline and neither did the CEA in its report. Plus the CEA isn’t trying to incite interest. This is how the consumer electronics industry views this category.

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