Powersports Audio Gets Real

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Polaris RZR

The mass entry of car audio vendors into powersports audio appears to be paying off for some vendors.

Powersports audio, including UTV, ATV and motorcycle audio, has been gaining over the past two years, as more suppliers enter the market. It’s now attracting the attention of mass merchants.  Best Buy is planning to test market the powersports audio category, said industry members (Best Buy did not respond to our request for confirmation).  Auto Zone is test marketing a motorcycle section that includes motorcycle speakers, said one supplier.

kicker-rzrKicker says it is up 50 percent in powersports audio sales (for UTVs, ATVs and motorcycles) and that these sales are primarily through traditional car audio retailers.

Boss Audio was up 18 percent last year and is expecting to see a 25 percent increase this year.  The category has expanded enough that the company is now hiring a dedicated sales manager for powersports.

Another leading supplier that did not wish to be named said sales including marine were up 15 percent and are expected to see the same growth this year.

P&E Distributors, TN said its marine/outdoor/powersports audio sales are up 75 percent compared to 24 months ago (and this also includes lighting).

Consumers tend to spend thousands of dollars accessorizing UTVs and motorcycles. About 92 percent of the buyers  accessorize sport UTVs and 70 percent accessorize utility UTVs.

But sales of the of the actual ATVs, UTVs and motorcycles themselves has remained steady at about 730,000 units as of 2015 (the latest numbers available).

In the past two years just about every leading car audio speaker and amplifier maker has fielded a line of UTV/ATV and/or motorcycle audio products. The numbers are staggering.  Maxxsonics introduced about 50 powerports SKUs  in the past two years. Cerwin-Vega introduced about 55 and Diamond Audio about 35. Rockford now has 40 models of motorcycle and UTV products in its catalogue. Hertz is shipping its first powersports audio line.

Dealers in certain markets say the category is taking off.  But many are seeing growth in only one or two of the powersports audio categories. So they may do well in motorcycle audio but not UTV kits.  Or they may do well in marine audio but not in the newer powersports categories.

The Specialists AZ, said UTV audio kits “have taken off like crazy.”  A spokesman said, “There’s a ton of RZRs out there.”

In the past, said the spokesman, “We were selling the pre-boxed kits.  We weren’t doing a ton. It was all over the place. The sales staff didn’t know how to put it together. It was confusing. Rockford Fosgate put it together in a kit that’s easy to understand and makes it much easier.  The wiring comes in the kit and all the brackets. Salesmen don’t to have to figure out how to order the brackets,” he said.

Now it sells more than a few Rockford RZR audio kits a month where previously the shop had very few sales. The kits include amplifiers, speakers and a subwoofer starting at $2,500.

Extreme Car Audio, Morristown, TN says motorcycle audio has become 40 percent of its business over the past two years. The shop goes to 5 or 6 of the smaller motorcycle rallies and brings a demo bike with 13 speakers in a 1,460 watts system including a 12 inch woofer in an extended saddle bag.

“In the past the only thing available was car audio to put on a bike and people blew it up, it didn’t work.”

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