More tuning into wireless speakers

SINGAPORE - Wireless speakers are making a big noise in Singapore.

With a growing number of models entering the market and falling prices, sales hit $5.31 million between January and July this year - more than double the total for the same period last year.

Market research firm GfK Asia also found that 36,700 units were sold in the first seven months of this year, up from 12,600 units in the corresponding period last year.

Checks with major retailers like Courts, Gain City and Song Brothers showed similar increases.

Mr Tim Nolan, commercial director of Courts Singapore, said sales "more than doubled from (the same period) last year" in the chain's 14 stores and on its website.

Song Brothers at Sim Lim Square said it sells about five units a day, up from two a day a year ago.

The speakers allow users to play music from their phones remotely and Gfk said they are riding on the growing ubiquity of smart devices such as phones and tablets.

Retail expert Amos Tan said the trend is "still growing", adding: "We have gone past the introduction stage as more brands enter the market."

Retailers said the more popular brands include Bose, Beats and TDK.

Currently, there are 177 different models of wireless speakers in the market, almost double the number last year.

They include versions with wireless transmitters built in and those without.

Shoppers can choose from 56 different brands this year, an increase from the 37 last year.

They are becoming more affordable too. A wireless speaker costs $145 on average, down from $189 last year.

"It is no longer just for people with deep pockets," said Mr Tan, a lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic, noting that these speakers cost between $500 and $600 when they entered the market more than a year ago.

Mr Nolan said access to digital downloads and streaming services has also fuelled the growth as smartphone users can play music readily.

Mr Gene Mok, 32, who runs Selfish Gene Cafe in Craig Road, is planning to liven up his cafe's extension with new JBL wireless speakers costing about $300.

He said: "It's a more economical option. I don't have to hire someone to lay the cables."

This article was first published on September 13, 2014.
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