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Consumers Pump Up Demand for Wireless Speakers


Jim Barry, Consumer Technology Association

 
This spring, CEA’s Digital Answer Man Tour media presentations focused on tech gifts for “Moms, Dads and Grads.” Two of the most asked-about tech categories were wireless Bluetooth headphones and speakers. I expect this will be the case for upcoming segments this fall around holiday tech gifts.
 
The Digital Answer Man Tour is CEA’s national media tour where I spend the year visiting more than 55 top media markets and conduct countless TV and radio segments on the latest and greatest tech products and trends. The tour also gives me an ear to the ground on consumer awareness and interest in new tech categories. Watch a segment from the tour here. 
 
The confluence of greatly improved Bluetooth 3.0 and 4.0 technology –  coupled with the proliferation of tablets and smartphones containing thousands of songs –  makes digital streaming or playing stored music easier than ever. Lately, I’ve been highlighting a variety of these devices, including:
  There are countless versions of these products (just google “Bluetooth speakers”) that have sprouted, seemingly overnight, in the same way docking stations for smartphones and tablets did half-a-dozen years ago. There are big and small models, playful and stylish options, waterproof units for use in the shower, pool or hot tub and ones with suction to attach to most any surface.
 
With their portability, versatility, ease of use and comfortable price range ($30 to $200), wireless Bluetooth-enabled speakers and headphones show no sign of slowing down. According to CEA research, portable speakers will generate $650 million in 2014 (up 69 percent over 2013), while headphones will earn about $1.4 billion in revenue in 2014. It’s no wonder that wireless Bluetooth-enabled speakers are the natural successor to those docking stations and have become one of this year’s hot product categories.
 
ICYMI: my last Report from the Road Tour: Introducing the Internet of Things to Consumers focused on how well consumers are catching on to the Internet of Things. Hint: I’ve gotten a few blank stares.
 
To learn more about the Digital Answer Man Tour, visit CE.org/DigitalAnswerMan and to keep up, follow along on Twitter @CEAanswerman.
 

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