Survey predicts a surge in popularity for wireless speakers and multi-room audio devices

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Even if you’re just a casual follower of our Home Theater department, you’re more than likely aware of the ongoing onslaught of wireless audio devices — within the last month alone we’ve previewed or reviewed nearly a score of them: JBL’s Authentics L8, Harman Kardon’s Sabre SB35, Outdoor Tech’s Big Turtle Shell, Pyle Audio’s Street Blaster, MartinLogan’s Crescendo, Neptor’s NPSP01-BL, and Objest’s Quip, just to name a few. But, according to a new survey by the Consumer Electronics Association, the wireless speaker storm has only just begun.

The study, “Consumer Perspectives on Wireless Multi-Room and Portable Audio Solutions,” finds that almost one in five — 16 percent — consumers own a portable wireless speaker. And while only one in ten consumers currently own a wireless multi-room audio (MRA) device, 44 percent of non-owners express interest in getting one. Additionally, 28 percent of consumers plan to purchase a portable wireless speaker (not necessarily MRA-oriented) or related product within the next two years.

These numbers — much like the recent study that predicts a rapid expansion for 4K technology — point to a seemingly inevitable sweeping change for the home audio industry. Considering that almost every owner of both wireless MRA products and portable wireless speakers has reported satisfaction with their devices, this movement doesn’t appear to be a fleeting fad. 91 percent of wireless MRA device owners and 85 percent of portable wireless speaker owners would recommend their products to someone else.

CEA also found that, for the consumers researching and purchasing these products, friends, family and co-workers are the most important sources of information. Word-of-mouth and hands-on interactions are the main factors propelling this movement, thus far.

Check out the study for yourself here, and for more on wireless audio, you can sift through our archive for access to every wireless speaker review, or check out the “Best Wireless Speakers” article for our top 10 – compiled by our very own expert reviewers.