St. Albans, UK (February 23, 2017)—Global consumer audio hardware sales in Q4 2016 grew 28 percent year-on-year to $10.2 billion, according to Futuresource Consulting’s quarterly audio tracking service.

“This resounding Q4 performance underscores a record-breaking year for audio hardware sales, clearly demonstrating how recent advances in the market are really connecting with consumers,” says Rasika D’Souza, a senior market analyst at Futuresource. “Our quarterly figures show that home audio and headphones are both pushing the market forward, growing by 33 percent and 24 percent respectively, and our forecasts show continued growth throughout 2017.”

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Smartphone uptake and the popularity of music streaming services continue to drive market growth, but this is being boosted by Amazon’s Echo and Dot launching into more countries, the US launch of Google Home and widespread consumer adoption of wireless headphones, says the report.

Echo and Dot sales account for nearly one third of wireless speaker sales in the US and UK, says Futuresource research analyst Zlata Jelisejeva. “Additionally, Apple’s decision to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack accelerated wireless headphone sales and boosted the wider market, with wireless representing 49 percent of US headphone sales in Q4.”

“Ten years ago the audio market was dominated by vendors from Japan and Philips, whereas now we see the likes of Bose, Beats (Apple), Harman and Sonos as well as Sony jostling for position among the leading five,” says D’Souza. “Watch out for key developments in Voice Personal Assistant (VPA) speakers and wireless (and true wireless) headphones as the market surges forward.”

Despite the sector’s strong overall performance, certain sub-categories are beginning to shrink or slow down rapidly, including hi-fi systems, loudspeakers, separates and soundbars. Futuresource reports that audio growth elsewhere is eclipsing this downturn.

Futuresource Consulting