Sound and Steady Growth for Portable Audio on Amazon

 In Shopping

Do you remember, as we do, receiving a Sony Walkman for Christmas in the early 90s and stepping into the endless joy of one’s own portable soundscape? If not that specific memory, you probably relate to the magic of living your own movie soundtrack.

Fast forward a few years, and consumers (now digital) still seek the joy portable sound brings, they just have a larger breadth and higher fidelity options for what’s playing in their ears than a cassette tape.

Music-on-the-Go Still Booms, Especially for Amazon

The growth of the portable audio market does not seem to be slowing down. Amazon’s Q2 market share in the Portable Audio category—including Headphones, Music Players, Speakers and Docks—is up by 13% from Q2 2017 numbers.

Compared to other retailers, this is one category in particular where Amazon’s market share lead is growing at a sizable clip, with purchases up 13% year-over-year in Q2. Walmart isn’t even a close second at 5%. It might be that Amazon is now attracting business in the Portable Audio category that a year ago may have gone to newegg.com or bestbuy.com, both of whom are seeing double digit falls in already relatively minor online sales.

This is in contrast to other product categories such as Furniture, where Amazon has seen its market share decrease (down 10.8%) compared to category leaders such as Ikea (up 54.7%) and Wayfair (up 21.6%).

Companies like Wayfair and Ikea focus on quality and brand appeal with their products.

Their products are inherently more expensive. Customers usually take a longer amount of time, more consideration, and more personal experience research before deciding to buy. They also may expect, of course, to use their new Ikea bed longer than, say, a set of Philips headphones.

Amazon’s increase in conversions from 2017’s figures reflect their strength in arenas with a lot of brands at play and a lot of inventory to compete on price. The lower prices offered on Amazon may account for this year’s drop in Q2 numbers for bhphotovideo.com—a site where product quality and price may be tend to be higher, but who may offer more to a certain professional or high-end subset of buyers who compare specs.

The top 5 brands accounted for only 16% of all transactions from April to June 2018. The leading brand, Panasonic, only accounted for 4.2% of the market share. In contrast, 84% of all transactions came from brands not in the top 5 (brands like RAVPower, Ultimate Ears, Baofeng, etc.).

One reason why the conversion share on Amazon might be so diversified is that these smaller name brands are probably using Amazon Marketplace and Amazon ads, knowing that the majority of all product searches are now made on Amazon.

With the Portable Audio category, Amazon’s advantages in terms of logistics definitely come into play—lots of third-party sellers can move a variety of brands and products rapidly to sound lovers.

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