Car audio niche markets that are growing rapidly include CD-less radios, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). (See story here for larger macro trends in car audio).
Mechless head units (without a CD or DVD) saw a 27 percent gain in dollar shipments in 2014, and are expected to climb by 18 percent this year.
Bluetooth was also a big category winner. Car radios of all types with built in Bluetooth were up by 47 percent in 2014. Growth is expected to fall into single digits for 2015, at 8 percent this year.
Head units using Android apps also shot up by 46 percent in dollar shipments, expected to see a 34 percent spike this year.
Head units using iOS apps were flat last year but are expected to grow by 10 percent this year.
Also OE integration sales will continue to gain slightly by up to 3 percent over the next few years, in dollar shipments.
A trend to watch for in the future is Hi-Res Audio, which in the home audio market saw 50 percent growth last year in units and dollars for audiophile equipment like DACs and amplifiers. The CEA expects Hi-Res home audio equipment sales to rise about 20 percent this year.
Steve Koenig CEA Director of Industry Analysis said the trend in better sound might bode well for the aftermarket. “We are starting to see consumers looking for better sound. We see evidence of this explosive growth in over the ear headphones and in sound bars. There is support out there in the consumer space for better sound.” But he adds that consumer education by 12 volt suppliers and retailers will be needed to help promote Hi-Res Audio and audiophile sound.