NPD says soundbar usage far from TV-only
The general thought is that soundbars are accessories for your TV, but that is changing. Research firm The NPD Group has found that, for 55 percent of consumers, soundbars are becoming the new home stereo system, being used to listen to music, radio and podcasts in addition to TV sound.
Thirty-six percent of soundbar owners are connecting at least one portable device to their soundbar, said NPD. Twenty-three percent say they connect their smartphone to a soundbar, 16 percent to either a tablet or notebook computer, and 12 percent to an iPod.
NPD said the trend is accelerating most among millennials, who now account for 44 percent of all audio hardware spending, up from 35 percent just a year ago. They spend more $300 million yearly on soundbars. NPD said nearly two-thirds of millennial owners listen to audio content on soundbars, and spend about 22 percent of their time doing so -- rates higher than those of the general population.
“Millennials are one key factor to growing the soundbar market but there are several others as well,” said Ben Arnold, executive director, industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Our latest soundbar market forecast shows annual growth at about 20 percent through 2016 and that will be driven by lower selling prices, new products on the market, and consumer adoption of new TV technologies, like 4K. These factors will all combine to help grow demand for soundbars in consumer households.”
More than 6,000 U.S. consumers were surveyed by NPD, of which approximately 750 were soundbar owners.