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CE Pro 100 Loves Sonos, So Is It Time to Stop Complaining?

Despite the public complaints from integrators about the brand, Sonos leads multiple categories among CE Pro 100 integrators including surprisingly in soundbars and subwoofers.

CE Pro 100 Loves Sonos, So Is It Time to Stop Complaining?

Jason Knott · June 9, 2017

Sonos, the brand that integrators love to hate, is killing it in the CE Pro 100. The Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Sonos, known for completely upending the norm in the multiroom audio market with its wireless innovation, is now the leading brand used by the industry's largest integrators in soundbars and subwoofers.

That goes hand-in-hand with its No. 1 position in the Wireless Audio category, and No. 2 position in the Multiroom A/V Distribution category. The company even comes in third in the general Floorstanding Loudspeaker category, third in Streaming Media Devices, and fourth in Audio Amplifiers.  

Let's dig in to the data for a moment. Here are Sonos' penetration numbers:


Wireless Audio — #1 overall with more than three out of four CE Pro 100 companies using Sonos (76 percent). Not really a surprise. It should be noted, however, that this usage rate represents and 11 percent decline compared to 2015. Brands like HEOS, Bose and Control4 made strong headway. 

See other how other companies ranked in the wireless audio category »


Multiroom A/V Distribution Systems — #2 overall (behind Control4) with a 48 percent penetration rate.  That means dealers are putting in a lot of wireless multiroom audio systems these days, in addition to hardwired options. 

See other how other companies ranked in the multiroom A/V category »


Soundbars  #1 overall with a 60 percent marketshare. That is a 13 percent increase over last year.

See other how other companies ranked in the soundbar category »


Subwoofers — #1 overall with a 37 percent share. This is the first year this category has been broken out and it was a bit of a surprise to see Sonos in the lead. The conclusion is that dealers are putting in a lot of single-room Sonos systems combining the soundbar with a subwoofer. 

See other how other companies ranked in the subwoofer category »


Media Servers/Streaming Devices — #3 with 28 percent marketshare, behind leaders Kaleidescape and Autonomic. If the category had been broken down by audio-only streaming devices, Autonomic would lead. 

See other how other companies ranked in the media server/streaming category »


Floorstanding Loudspeakers — #3 with 24 percent penetration, behind leaders Klipsch and B&W. Again, this reaffirms that integrators are installing nearly as many wireless audio speakers as they are high-performance audio systems. 

See other how other companies ranked in the floorstanding/bookshelf loudspeaker category »


Audio Amplifiers — #4 with a strong 34-percent usage rate. 

See other how other companies ranked in the audio amplifier category »


What Does It Mean?

The CE Pro 100 Brand Analysis Study is a glimpse into the brands that integrators are using to succeed. These companies, by virtue of their revenues, can be considered among the most successful firms. The growth rate in 2016 vs. 2015 was a whopping 24 percent. That is compared to 9.1 percent growth among the rest of the custom integration community. 

So for all the public complaints from integrators about the lack of margin, the closed operating system and the fact that consumers can buy Sonos products directly, it has still become a go-to brand for a large number of integrators, both within the CE Pro 100 and surely outside of this list too?

So, I ask, is it time to stop all the complaining? 



  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]

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View Jason Knott's complete profile.


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  Article Topics


Speakers · Loudspeakers · Amplifiers · Subwoofers · Wireless · Audio/Video · Distributed Audio · Business · CEPro 100 · News · Blogs · CE Pro 100 Brands · Sonos · Soundbar · Streaming Audio · Streaming Media · All Topics
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Comments

Posted by justin3v06 on June 14, 2017

I don’t mind it..
It works a lot better than the C4 Branded multi zone audio.
Margin’s not great but its a solid product, and does what its supposed to do.
Im no longer a C4 dealer so i can’t empathize with the frustration.
but I’ve done a number of C4 systems that were supposed to work with c4 brand multi zone audio and ended up scrapping it all to replace it with sonos.  C4 did admit that they had a problem with there own multi zone audio platform and after about the 4th driver update we thru in the towel because we were burning money at the clients home..  we were having multiple syncing issues with there zone amplifiers, audio was out of sync with other rooms in the house, it was a huge mess!!  C4 did refund all the parts that were purchased for the job and took all the hardware back, which i was shocked and pleased since there top tier tech support couldn’t fix the issue.

Posted by jmcdermott1678 on June 13, 2017

How can C4 dealers any longer install Sonos as a solution with confidence, first of all?  “Oh yes, it works, but you can only choose from your favorites.  Oh, and you can’t use line-in sources”.  Come on people!

If the client just wants multi-room audio, great! Sonos just works.  If they want to integrate it, forget it.  Sonos loves to make the CI dealers think that they have their best interests in mind.  Yes, they will work on “certified integration”.  Just so long as they can put their app in front of the end users faces.  Oh, and let’s not forget that they market to end-users directly to buy add-ons directly from Sonos.

If you have the client’s best interests in mind, you can find something else that works for them.  I have no problem installing multiple rooms of Sonos, but how can you tell me someone installing a house full of Control4 should use Sonos for streaming, when Sonos can’t be honest about what they’re going to do for us for integration.  They’ve been telling us since August that we (Control4 dealers) “might” have a “full Sonos driver” in the near future.  Well we have half a driver….  Then there’s Autonomics, which works perfectly….

Posted by loren roetman on June 10, 2017

Yes

The loudest of that braying crew were the same Ludites who were “never” going to sell iPads because you “couldn’t” make any profit selling them… Real Visionaries!

I think that a great deal of the obfuscatory effort was cooked up by ringers from fearful competitors of the upstart Sonos sitting on warehouses full of 4 source / 6 room / hard button keypad (or was that 6 source / 4 room?) multi-room packages. Can you say, write off? Where’s all that dead wood now? Shredded and Recycled into Bangkok TukTuk bumpers? There are probably some “industry leaders” who are still shoveling that crap out the back door. Good Luck!

Posted by mark at combitech on June 9, 2017

I stopped fighting what people want a long time ago, Sonos has now become the “Kleenex” brand of audio and it works too boot…....period! You want to educate and turn them onto a slightly more profitable solution be my guest. I at 52 like to sleep at night and spend evenings and weekends at home with my reputation intact. I add it to my C4 solutions for expansion into other needs like Video / HT etc..

Posted by mark at combitech on June 9, 2017

I stopped fighting what people want a long time ago, Sonos has now become the “Kleenex” brand of audio and it works too boot…....period! You want to educate and turn them onto a slightly more profitable solution be my guest. I at 52 like to sleep at night and spend evenings and weekends at home with my reputation intact. I add it to my C4 solutions for expansion into other needs like Video / HT etc..

Posted by loren roetman on June 10, 2017

Yes

The loudest of that braying crew were the same Ludites who were “never” going to sell iPads because you “couldn’t” make any profit selling them… Real Visionaries!

I think that a great deal of the obfuscatory effort was cooked up by ringers from fearful competitors of the upstart Sonos sitting on warehouses full of 4 source / 6 room / hard button keypad (or was that 6 source / 4 room?) multi-room packages. Can you say, write off? Where’s all that dead wood now? Shredded and Recycled into Bangkok TukTuk bumpers? There are probably some “industry leaders” who are still shoveling that crap out the back door. Good Luck!

Posted by jmcdermott1678 on June 13, 2017

How can C4 dealers any longer install Sonos as a solution with confidence, first of all?  “Oh yes, it works, but you can only choose from your favorites.  Oh, and you can’t use line-in sources”.  Come on people!

If the client just wants multi-room audio, great! Sonos just works.  If they want to integrate it, forget it.  Sonos loves to make the CI dealers think that they have their best interests in mind.  Yes, they will work on “certified integration”.  Just so long as they can put their app in front of the end users faces.  Oh, and let’s not forget that they market to end-users directly to buy add-ons directly from Sonos.

If you have the client’s best interests in mind, you can find something else that works for them.  I have no problem installing multiple rooms of Sonos, but how can you tell me someone installing a house full of Control4 should use Sonos for streaming, when Sonos can’t be honest about what they’re going to do for us for integration.  They’ve been telling us since August that we (Control4 dealers) “might” have a “full Sonos driver” in the near future.  Well we have half a driver….  Then there’s Autonomics, which works perfectly….

Posted by justin3v06 on June 14, 2017

I don’t mind it..
It works a lot better than the C4 Branded multi zone audio.
Margin’s not great but its a solid product, and does what its supposed to do.
Im no longer a C4 dealer so i can’t empathize with the frustration.
but I’ve done a number of C4 systems that were supposed to work with c4 brand multi zone audio and ended up scrapping it all to replace it with sonos.  C4 did admit that they had a problem with there own multi zone audio platform and after about the 4th driver update we thru in the towel because we were burning money at the clients home..  we were having multiple syncing issues with there zone amplifiers, audio was out of sync with other rooms in the house, it was a huge mess!!  C4 did refund all the parts that were purchased for the job and took all the hardware back, which i was shocked and pleased since there top tier tech support couldn’t fix the issue.