Let’s face it, when we want to listen to music or watch movies, we want quality audio. Whereas we previously turned to home theater systems for our audio needs, we are now finding that soundbars are a more likely candidate. Why? Because we want to be able to hear anything and everything, and what’s more, we want to do so without the pains of maneuvering through piles of wires or stumbling over satellite receivers.
And it just so happens to be that a forecast by Technavio predicts that the global soundbar market will grow at a CAGR of 16.18% during the period between 2017 and 2021. Going into specifics, users in the 35-54 age bracket are the highest adapters of soundbars, accounting for a revenue share of 55% in 2016.
In order to keep up this growth in the competitive sound landscape, many brands are coming up their own soundbar solutions, modifying and adapting them to consumer needs. Cheaper models come with basic connections, and more expensive models feature HDMI inputs, wireless audio streaming, and more power. Before we go further into this, let’s take a look at the forces behind the growth.
The Forces Behind the Growth
It has been suggested that there are four market drivers contributing to the global soundbar market’s continual growth: wireless streaming of audio content, a shift of preference to wireless technology (we’ll combine the wireless drivers for further analysis below), increasing innovations in technology, and the enhanced features of soundbars. Let’s take a closer look at each:
Shift of Preference for Wireless Streaming Content
The vast majority of soundbars come with the ability to stream content wirelessly. What’s more is that by and large, consumers prefer wireless technology due to their hassle-free maintenance, fast functionality, and of course, lack of wires (no one likes tripping over those pesky things). As a matter of fact, as seen in the global soundbar market image above, wireless speakers accounted for close to 9% of the global speaker market in 2016, and are likely to increase by 3% to 5% through 2021.
Along with wireless comes multi-room streaming, the ability for devices to connect wirelessly to each other through technology like AirPlay, Bluetooth, and WiFi, and cloud-hosted music streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify, SoundCloud, Tidal and Apple Music.
Increasing Innovations in Technology
One of the biggest factors driving the growth of soundbars is an increase in preference for smart homes. We are in the midst of a technological boom that has allowed us to connect consumer electronic devices and other smart electronics with each other through a home network. Think of the Internet of Things, in which devices interconnect with each other through the Internet. Well, wireless speakers are facilitating communication between devices in a home network, allowing us to stream content from anywhere in the home.
Similarly, Ujjwal Doshi, a lead analyst at Technavio for media and entertainment services research, says that “The demand for soundbars is expected to increase with the advances in technology. With the growth of flat panel TVs, the sound quality of some TVs has been compromised due to increase on the display size. This has resulted in the increased sales of soundbars for TV because consumers are adopting them as add-ons to their TVs.” He continues by saying that “Earlier, users had to buy woofers, tweeters, and sound systems separately, however, with advances in technology vendors have been able to merge these capabilities into one single audio device to offer premium sound quality.”
Enhanced Features of Soundbars
Some like the HEOS Bar, a recently launched soundbar by Denon, comes with a mobile app that you can use as a controller. This ease of functionality is one of the many enhanced features that come with soundbars. They’re also available with USB, Bluetooth, WiFi or wired connectivity, and can be connected to everything from computers to mobile devices and televisions.
Better yet, some have built-in woofers for extra bass and tweeters for treble control. And as can be expected from a soundbar’s expanded sound field, there’s no need for multiple sound boxes. In other words, one soundbar and you’re good.
As sales of soundbars increase, sales of home theater systems, Blu-ray audio players, and other devices based on older technologies continue to decline. With a sleek design, easy setup, wider sound field, and the ability to be mounted on a wall or placed in front of a television, soundbars are becoming the go-to sound option.
To wrap things up, wires are a nuisance and extra satellite receivers add more jumble to the chaos. Soundbars go around these things by offering a one-stop solution that not only rivals home theater systems, but in many cases also surpasses them. If you haven’t yet, go ahead and try them out. You won’t regret it.