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Video Podcast: 2021 Recap of the Hi-Fi, Headphone and Home Theater Industries

The ecoustics contributors recap the year of 2021 for the hi-fi, home theater and headphone industries during a YouTube livestream.

Our first podcast of 2022 was live streamed on YouTube earlier this week and the debate gets slightly heated.

We recap 2021 and take a look at the trends in regard to headphones, vinyl, and home theater.

It should come as no surprise to people that have been following us all year that physical media is back. Vinyl continues to show record growth (pun intended), CDs have rebounded after a 20 year slide, and even cassettes on the are on the uptick.

Americans purchased 40 million new records in 2021. The most in 3 decades.

Interest in vintage audio and modern equipment that looks retro is another trend we expect to continue in 2022. McIntosh, JBL, Klipsch, Leak, and Wharfedale have all reintroduced updated versions of “vintage” components and the folks in Binghamton are backlogged with vintage repairs and restorations.

The past 2 years have been quite strong for the home theater segment and high-end audio, but we’re not sure if that level of demand is going to continue in regard to expensive two-channel components.

Home theater will continue to grow as consumers have not yet shown a willingness to return to their local AMC; Spider-Man and Scream are serious outliers at the moment.

Wireless headphones will continue to dominate in 2022 and beyond. Expect to see that segment grow to almost $27 billion over the next 5 years.

The downside for consumers of such demand is pricing is expected to increase in 2022 — not just a little, but a lot. We’ve already seen 30% price bumps just within the last six months and we don’t see any signs of pricing stabilizing this year as new COVID variants persist. Whether it’s due to supply chain issues, increased shipping rates, inflation, or greater demand, all pricing signals are pointing up.

Our advice: buy as soon as you can right now if the products you want are in stock. You may be kicking yourself later when pricing creeps up.

Remember to subscribe on YouTube and join our newsletter to stay up to date with all that is happening in the world of A/V.

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Roundtable Group Discussion

The ecoustics team appearing in this episode include:

This episode is sponsored in part by Black Circle Radio


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ecoustics is a hi-fi and music magazine offering product reviews, podcasts, news and advice for aspiring audiophiles, home theater enthusiasts and headphone hipsters. Read more

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