Wireless speakers will continue to exhibit strong growth in retail current value sales during 2021, with some of this growth coming at the expense of portable media players – retail current value sales of which are in steep decline. Smartphones and streaming content are cannibalising portable media players, as consumers can now access a plethora of audio and video content online via such services as Netflix and YouTube without using additional devices.
Within wireless speakers, smart speakers are growing in popularity, with Amazon and Google parent company Alphabet Inc both seeing strong growth in their retail volume shares in wireless speakers during the review period. The latter part of the review period saw the range of products increase with the launch of Google Home and Google Mini, which integrate with Google Assistant, as well as Amazon Echo and Samsung’s Bixby.
Although book shops were closed for an extended period during 2020 due to pandemic restrictions, while lockdown left many local consumers with increased time for reading and self-education, retail current value sales of e-readers declined at an accelerated rate during the year. They will continue to fall – albeit at a somewhat diminished pace – during 2021.
Wireless speakers will continue to exhibit double-digit growth in retail current value sales for most of the forecast period, with smart speakers playing an increasingly important role in this. Increased consumer interest in smart homes will be key to this, with increased connectivity between devices, such as smart TVs and smart speakers, set to be facilitated by the rollout of 5G mobile networks.
In some regions of the country, there is still a small, but nonetheless significant, proportion of households will relatively sluggish internet speeds. This dampens demand for wireless speakers, particularly smart speakers.
2020 saw the launch of smart speakers with screens, such as Amazon Echo Show and Google Nest Hub. Demand for these products is set to increase during the forecast period, as consumers increasingly use them to manage other smart devices, such as large appliances and lighting.
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