Santa Please Bring Me… Audio Items Top Christmas Gift Lists

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December 24, 2013 ‐ By Ann Brown

What was on your Christmas want list this year? If you are like most Americans, you might have asked Santa for headphones, speakers and other audio gear.

Audio equipment topped the holiday gift lists of many Americans this season, reports The Grio. In fact, audio equipment is among the top-selling electronics gifts, accounting for 13 percent of the $8 billion in consumer electronics sales between Nov. 24 and Dec. 7, according to research firm NPD Group.

Headphone sales actually rose 14 percent during this holiday shopping season while sound bar sales grew 80 percent. And get this–streaming speaker sales nearly quadrupled.

The economy in part is driving this trend. “Audio gear, which can range from $50 to more than $500, is being considered by some an affordable luxury during a still shaky economy,” reports The Grio.

Consumers in the U.S. have also spent the last several years purchasing tablets, smartphones and TVs. But now, many are looking for ways to get better sound from those gadgets.

“It stands to reason that people at some point want a better audio experience than the ear buds you get in the box,” said Ben Arnold, NPD’s director of industry analysis.

This shopping trend started last year  when Beats by Dr. Dre became the “it” holiday gift. Americans are still buying Beats.

The company said it grew its share of the market for headphones over $99 from 71 percent last year to 78 percent this year.

Beats had stronger competition this year, such as Bowers Wilkins, Bose, Jawbone and JBL all of which offered more products, colors and stylish designs.

Additional, prices have fallen for some audio gear. For example, the average selling price for wireless speakers decreased 33 percent to $73 this year compared with 2012, according to NPD. Stores like Best Buy and Amazon offered deep discounts on some audio gear this year. And according to Target, sales of headphones, wireless speakers and sound bars have “increased significantly” this year.

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