Despite a shift in market conditions, the research company Futuresource Consulting estimates the pro speaker market will grow by $1 billion by 2021.
Currently the research firm values pro speakers at $2.6 billion globally, but states in their study that the industry will face some demands that will provide new openings for manufacturers.
“The times are changing for the pro loudspeaker industry with a range of challenges that will test manufacturers and ultimately open up new opportunities across the entire landscape,” says Chris McIntyre-Brown, associate director at Futuresource Consulting.
“In this maturing market, it’s no longer just about being in the right place at the right time. Brands are placing a greater emphasis on data analytics and research to identify growth opportunities.”
Influx of Money will Drive Pro Speaker Market Opportunities
Pointing out reasons for the increased reliance on data and analytics, Futuresource says that recent acquisitions by firms such as Ardian for d&b Audioechnik and Transom Capital Group for Loud Technologies place an emphasis on data and strategy.
“With access to growth capital and greater commercialism, watch out for strategies built around integrated, sustained campaigns, which achieve KPIs yet maintain brand integrity,” notes McIntyre-Brown.
“It’s a balancing act that needs to preserve the hard-earned customer relationships, which have traditionally been critical to success.”
Areas with Most Pro Speaker Market Opportunities
Examining several product segments—point source cabinets, line arrays, column arrays, compact systems, studio monitors and flush mount across five market segments rental, installed leisure, cinema sound, installed commercial, cinema sound and portable sound—Futuresource says installed leisure and the installed commercial verticals will provide the most opportunity.
Futuresource comments the installed leisure market provides higher value projectors, but the installed commercial category provides a greater number of opportunities.
The firm finds that touring bands are starting to target the installed leisure market, and in the installed commercial category, there is a segment developing where there is an increased emphasis on sound quality. These include immersive customer experiences and improved intelligibility in public transport.
The company also finds that in the touring market, a sub-segment of the rental vertical, changes in the music industry are placing a greater importance on concerts as sources of revenue for bands and their record labels.
As a result of the revenue expectations by bands and record companies, along with the increased use of visual effects, audio is “taking a reduced proportion, squeezing margins for rental companies.”
“As consumers place more importance on the live music experience, the demand for concerts, festivals and music events continues to climb,” states McIntyre-Brown.
“More events means more demand for equipment and pro speakers. And although these higher expectations have led to visual effects being used to enhance the show at the expense of audio, there could be future opportunities for new audio solutions in the installed leisure segment.”
Another factor impacting the professional loudspeaker market is the how online commerce is taking revenues from the retailers. Futuresource says retailers are fighting back with audio being a key component within their plans to create improved customer relations.
McIntyre-Brown adds that a couple of other categories that should be robust is portable sound and touring.
“The portable sound market, where compact systems are a growth product, also holds great opportunities for a consolidated offering, as does the touring market, where matching up pro speakers, amplifiers, and digital signal processing [DSP] devices is a core requirement,” concludes McIntyre-Brown.
“Watch out for the brands that can build relationships and form partnerships, either from a product or channel perspective. These will be the ones that survive and thrive in the new audio environment, where software integration, networking, sound monitoring and production tools all converge upon the pro loudspeaker ecosystem.”