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?