The home audio segment has continuously evolved over the years; commencing from the large cumbersome speakers for powerful sound to evolving into the sleek and small designs that offer high quality sound for a complete cinematic experience. Streaming music at one’s fingertips is growing at a rapid pace with true wireless audio taking a stand amongst the popular trends. There is always something new around the corner when it comes to the home audio system, manufacturers are delivering high-performance audio systems in sleek and sophisticated packages. The most significant development is the democratization of home theatre brought by affordable, large-screen, high-definition television sets that display content in combination with super-high-quality audio. Consumers cannot only find remarkably clear and highly impacting sound from speakers today, but they can find them in extremely small packages.
Trends of Home Audio products after Covid pandemic
“ Home Audio Segment has an amazing demand in the Indian market and the willingness to spend on some premium Home Theatre Systems has increased with the consumption of OTT cinema’s at home. For Indian users, Home Audio has always been associated with loudness and power. People have been homebound in the year 2020 and the awareness for quality speakers has increased than the normal. People don’t wish to compromise on the sound quality now and have the leisure of entertainment with top audio quality through Home Theatre Systems that offer cinematic sound experience. Users are not just craving for entertainment but were also looking for devices that could help them work remotely or take online education,” explained, Mr. Manvendra K Chandola, CEO, Riversong India.
According to Ajay Arora, Matata, Very clearly, there is huge demand for home audio devices and its becoming better by the day. It has almost been a year since the pandemic took the world by the storm. The lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the pandemic has altered peoples’ behaviour as they were confined to stay at home and in-house entertainment was their only hope. Even post the lock down, the amount of time spent outdoors has been greatly reduced which has further resulted in people seeking entertainment at home. Hence, we are witnessing a noticeable increase in online content consumption through OTT channels and music streaming apps. These home entertainment systems are even more useful with the growing popularity of video streaming services across all platforms. You don’t have to go to a theatre for an amazing audio and video experience. According to a report by Tech Mahindra on ‘Impact of COVID-19 on Media and Entertainment Industry’ theatres are closed, production has come to a halt, advertising has been disrupted, and most importantly, consumption of entertainment at home has been on the rise. 2021 will be the year that will witness the technological advancements in the industry.
• “ There is huge demand for Home audio products as music is something for which craze is increasing with time . As party culture at home is increasing hence demand for Home Audio products,” said, Sanjay Kalirona, CEO at Gizmore
“ India is increasingly becoming a big market for Home Audio segment. It is already one of the biggest markets for television segment and quite naturally, it must become a big market for Home Audio products as well. However, the penetration of Home Audio products is still lower as compared to televisions. Therefore, there is a huge potential for Home Audio products to grow exponentially in the next few years. During the lockdown, we witnessed a big spike in demand for Home Audio products. In the first few months after lockdown was relaxed, we had registered growth of over 70% vs same period last year in Home Audio products and this growth could have been even bigger if not for the supply constraints due to supply chain disruption owing to COVID,” said, Mani B, Product Manager, Audio Business at Sony India.
” The demand for home audio products has been ever increasing, thanks to the evolving technological innovations in the segment. The Covid-19 pandemic has also had its impact on the demand and supply in the segment. If the trends over the past few months are considered, it can be ascertained that there has been a surge in the demands for earphones, headphones and True Wireless Stereo or TWS devices. A major reason for the same is that people are keener on procuring devices that are of personal use. It is possibly because of this very reason that the demand in the party speaker category has not shown much growth,” said, Mr. Achin Gupta, Country Head-India at ZOOOK.
“ This segment is growing at an unprecedented pace and in the coming few years also, it will keep growing. Home audio is no more a family decision, rather every individual now needs their own personal music device hence the numbers are growing like never before. During Covid, everyone was confined within their homes and work from home and study online became the new normal. This shift has increased the demand for BT speakers,” said, Pawan Kumar, CEO of Elista.
“ Home audio segment is growing at an aggressive pace and will keep growing in the months to come. With people getting more inclined toward the get-together and party culture at home and every room having its own personal music device, the demand is seeing a new peak every month, concluded, Mukesh Taneja, General Manager (Sales), Intex Technologies.
Driving Trends in Home Audio Segment
According to Ajay Arora, CEO, Matata, “ Ever since the lockdown occurred, online workout sessions, virtual challenges have become popular. These individual workout sessions have led to people investing in seamless and hassle-free immersive audio experience, thereby creating a need for technologically superior truly wireless earbuds. Seeing the potential of the TWS, Matata launched MTTT28 with superior features such as longer battery life, sweat resistance, better Bluetooth compatibility, enhanced audio quality, and ANC for noise-free listening feature amongst others. There is no denying the fact that entertainment and broadcast sectors will remain the audio market’s biggest consumer drivers. Add to this, the rising popularity of house parties in young millennials, have created a lucrative niche for portable, Bluetooth speakers. Speakers are now coming in vibrant colors and have become a style statement. Portable water resistant speakers with AI functionality are trending now and will soon capture huge chunk of this segment. The future definitely will be dominated by AI enabled speakers.”
“ With increase in demand for home audio segment, we have witnessed some shift within the categories. For example, music devices are not a family purchase anymore, everyone wants their own portable personal device hence the portable BT speaker demand has been growing leaps and bounds. Customer inclination is shifting from hefty multiple channel speakers towards sleek and premium looking sound bars. Trolley speakers are also becoming very popular due to the fact that they are movable / portable with ease. Karaoke is getting popular in India hence the customer preference is also shifting towards the music systems which can enable the same,” explained, Mukesh Taneja, General Manager (Sales), Intex Technologies.
“ WFH culture has driven the demand and the numbers have sky-rocketed already. Their has been a shift from traditional music systems towards BT Wireless speakers and sleek systems. Smart music devices are also being well accepted and these categories will further grow very fast,” said, Pawan Kumar, CEO of Elista.
“In the last few months, home audio segment has witnessed a robust growth in demand. Since the pandemic has created a new norm of operating from home, consumers are spending more time on entertainment, personal fitness and wellness through online resources which has heightened the need for home audio products like Soundbars, Headphones and Bluetooth speakers. Further, with the increased consumption of OTT content on apps such as YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime etc. consumers are also looking for a cinematic experience with enhanced sound quality at home. Looking at this rising trend, we are working towards addressing consumer needs by launching premium yet affordable tech devices like the Philips TAPB603 Dolby Atmos Soundbar, making the overall high fidelity audio category more accessible. In terms of demand, both offline and online channels are showing good growth post September 2020. Additionally, aggressive promotion by online players have further boosted Headphones and Bluetooth speaker categories,” said, Shailesh Prabhu, Country Head, TPV Technology India Pvt. Ltd.
“ Pristine sound quality holds the highest bar in the Home Audio Segment and we expect 2021 to withhold a minimalistic approach to this segment, with added focus on Soundbars, Trolley Speakers, compact Bluetooth speakers and none-the-less Tower Speakers will always hold the space in this segment. People have started to prefer Minimal audio equipment with Maximized sound with the space problems and also to avoid the hassle of wires. We designed our Home Audio series keeping in mind the latest trends and technology, and embedded the wireless technologies and touch controls to maximise the comfort level of users. Keeping in mind the upcoming audio trends, Riversong has planned to come up with is series of Soundbars and Trolley Speakers to help people stay connected to music with ease and not sorry about any space consumption problems,” said,Mr. Manvendra K Chandola, CEO, Riversong India
“ With time and need, there are change in trend for usage as earlier people used to have 2.1/4.1 speakers at home which lately changed to SOUND BAR which can be attached with TV, trolly speakers which one can move around in home or outside and small BT speaker for personal audio. Now many speakers are coming with mic where one can play karoke music . We at Gizmore have complete range on Trolly, tower and Bar speakers,” said, Sanjay Kalirona.
“Now that the impact of the pandemic has lessened and we have entered the unlock phases, there have been a few changes with regard to the trends in the sector. The trends that are currently driving the home audio segment are centred around products such as True Wireless Stereo products, party speakers and soundbars. For instance, we recently launched Thunder Bolt – the GenNext karaoke party speaker, Explode 111 – a new multimedia 2.1 speaker system and tower speaker Tornado 101, and the demand for all has been quite encouraging,” said, Mr.Achin Gupta, Country Head-India at ZOOOK.
” Soundbars is becoming a massive growth driver in Home Audio segment. With traditional Home Theatre systems becoming a thing of the past, Soundbars have taken the market by the storm. With more attention to details towards the interiors and aesthetics of their living rooms, people are preferring Soundbars over conventional Home theatres as they come with lesser cables and offer simple installation. Apart from Soundbars, Party Speakers or One Box music systems is another segment which is driving the growth. Although in 2020, this category was slightly muted due to weaker sentiments towards partying, this was a fast-growing segment till 2020 and we expect this to gain traction in 2021,” concluded, Mani B, Product Manager, Audio Business at Sony India
Competition and demand in this space
“ The Home Audio Market is fiercely competitive owing to extensive brands and vendors coming up with diverse ranges of Home Audio products. There is a tough choice between Wired and Wireless for the sound lovers. The new brands launch speakers at nominal prices to attract customers, and do not pay attention to the quality of features and sound. The premium brands struggle to make consumers understand the difference before experiencing the other systems. Although 2020 has increased awareness of the sound quality, the music lovers and tech-savvy people prefer to buy the best home theatre without compromising on the sound quality. The market is witnessing the change in the Audio segment with increased demand of wireless gadgets and also the need to stay home. The past year has made everyone comfortable at their homes and now Home Audio is helping them witness the cinematic experience without going to theatres,” said Mr. Manvendra K Chandola, CEO, Riversong India
“The competition in the Indian market has always been tremendous. However, the niche category where we are playing is still being only by a handful of brands. ZOOOK has always been a pioneer in the audio segment and over the years, the brand has specialized in introducing products that can be considered industry first. Our USP has been coming up with products that offer something new to the consumers in the given segment. As mentioned earlier, the demand witnessed currently is for a wide range of products in the segment, from earphones and headphones to karaoke party speakers,” said, Mr.Achin Gupta.
“There is huge competition in every category as both local and international players are there and it will remain there. We at Gizmore are very clear in our strategy and segment,” said, Sanjay Kalirona.
“ India will always have huge demand for affordable home audio systems which are light on pocket yet packed with features. Quality and after sales service plays a huge role when coming to deciding about the products. With many domestic and international brands already present in this segment, the competition is huge. However, best products will survive and the market will consolidate in the near future,” opined, Pawan Kumar, CEO of Elista.
“ Of late we are seeing many brands, especially in the low-price segment, enter the market and helping to expand the market rapidly. However, in the Premium segment, Sony is the most dominant brand and we have maintained the pole position year-on-year by launching the most innovative products with best-in-class features. Currently, our Soundbar business is growing by over 50% versus previous year,” said, Mani B, Product Manager, Audio Business at Sony India.
“ India being a price sensitive market, the competition is and will remain intense. There is huge demand for affordable yet great quality products in the domestic market. Intex being synonyms with speakers, this segment is only growing for us and will remain one of the top categories for our business,” said, Mukesh Taneja, General Manager (Sales), Intex Technologies.
“The Audio Interface market is expected to grow from USD 149.02 Million in 2018 to USD 240.2 Million by 2026, at a CAGR of 5.9%. This forecast period, made us realize that this sector has a lot in potential. Matata wanted to come up with the latest and affordable technology for Indian consumers. The Indian market is very vast. We are coming up with new innovative products to give a wide range of options to our customers to choose from. Along with that, they are equipped with the latest versions of the technology which makes them stand out from our competitive brands. In this pandemic phase, we have witnessed families investing in soundbars to spend quality time together. People are looking for immersive technologies to recreate the theatre-like experience from the comfort and safety of their homes, thereby creating a need for technologically superior soundbars. To keep up with the passion of constantly innovating, Matata introduced MTMS804 Soundbar which delivers a 3D home audio experience in one bar,”concluded, Ajay Arora, Matata.
Upcoming trend in 2021
According to Mukesh Taneja, General Manager (Sales), Intex Technologies, Sleek looks, light-weight portable speakers will see huge demand. With music being streamed through apps mostly, wireless BT connectivity will remain one of the top features in 2021 to look for. Covid and lock down has boosted in-house entertainment hence the speakers with multiple connectivity options will remain on top of the game.
“ Dolby Atmos soundbars is expected to be the new trend in Soundbars. With Dolby Atmos contents becoming increasing available, consumers are looking forward for devices that support the best Audio format for an immersive entertainment experience. Keeping abreast with this new trend, Sony plans to expand its Dolby Atmos range of Soundbars in the Indian market,” said, Mani B, Product Manager, Audio Business at Sony India.
“ The increased demand of the audio tech has also given a surge to the future demand of superior and premium products. The year 2021 is expected to see a rise in the sale of wireless multimedia speakers with an outstanding battery life which would help them carry the speakers with them while travelling or partying at the home of loved ones,” said Mr. Manvendra K Chandola, CEO, Riversong India
“Smart sleek looks, multi connectivity and portability will remain the top feature apart from great sound, added, Pawan Kumar CEO of Elista.
“ The Immersive audio experience is the ability of the speakers/audio device to create a 3D space wherein people can not only hear sound coming from the source but can also sense the sound coming from all corners. In short, it is devices that capture and amplify real life that transforms every moment into a supernatural experience. Immersive audio is poised to be the future of the audio industry in the coming years. It has the capability to completely revolutionise the way audio is consumed and created today. An increasing number of products and experiences these days are offering immersive audio across segments, but there is still a lot of unchartered territories when it comes to exploring the multiple possibilities this technology has,” said, Ajay Arora, CEO, Matata.
“Wireless music and smart speakers is going to be trend along with more play time,” added, Sanjay Kalirona.
“This year, we are likely to witness innovations in Alexa-based TWS and speakers. Needless to say, the surge in this segment is expected because of the instrumental lifestyle changes brought about by the pandemic. Apart from this, the segment of powerful party speakers is also most likely to dominate the trends,” concluded, Mr. Achin Gupta, Country Head-India at ZOOOK
Retail outlets Vs Online shopping
According to Mr. Achin Gupta, the offline Retail is gradually coming back on track, with shops now opening up and customers returning to the market. However, the fact cannot be denied that the Covid-19 pandemic has given an unprecedented boost to the ecommerce sector. This trend of relying more on online shopping is here to stay and will continue to increase the effect on offline channels.
“ Riversong India works in the offline module and believes in offline marketing and works with the objective of giving customers the chance of experiencing the sound and quality of products before investing in them. We are looking forward to expand our distribution channel further in the year 2021,” said, Mr. Manvendra K Chandola, CEO, Riversong India
“ Offline retail remains the biggest channel for this segment as the buying decision is mostly taken after hearing the sound and experiencing it. Online buying is increasing for smaller products or repeat buying but offline still remains the biggest chunk.,” said, Pawan Kumar, CEO of Elista.
“ Shopping behaviour amongst Indian consumers has evolved during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During the early stages, a large number of Indian consumers were either in containment zones or there were limited options available for making their necessary and discretionary purchases. This led to consumers trying new channels, products and brands, which in turns has resulted in changes to consumer’s shopping habits and their path to purchase. The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more digital world and triggered changes in online shopping behaviours but now things are getting better and people are back to their normal routine. So in coming month we can see demand in retails outlets,” said, Ajay Arora, Matata.
“ Online /offline is always have their own share . I feel music is all about experience and customer want to listen before buying so speakers are more about offline,” said, Sanjay Kalirona of Gizmore.
” For smaller personal music devices, the online has become the preferred mode of buying. However, for bigger products and systems that are connected to TV, consumer still prefers to experience the music before making a buying decision. Hence offline trade still has greater role to play,” said, Mukesh Taneja, General Manager (Sales), Intex Technologies.
“Although our sales in online has grown bigger than offline in the last 6-7 months, the demand in offline has also come back similar to pre-Covid level. As product experience is one of the key components of customer purchase journey for Home audio products, offline will remain a main channel for this category,” concluded, Mani B, Product Manager, Audio Business at Sony India.