by September 6, 2004 0 comments

Creative wrests the crown this year from Mercury, who is pushed to the second place, followed by Sony, Philips and Bose. Logitech is at number six, followed by Yamaha and Altec Lansing.

Last year, we had named this segment more generically as PC speakers. This year, we have redefined the space to be surround-sound speakers, taking into account the fact that speaker brands, particularly cheap Chinese imports, are a dime a dozen and that the more discerning user will want to have something better.

Creative was number two last year. Sony has retained its number three position from last year. Bose, Philips and Altec Lansing are new entrants to the Users’ Choice Club. For Philips, one assumes that it is not PC speakers, but a carry-over effect of their music systems at work that got them in.

The first thing that strikes you when you see the brand switch-matrix is the high level of dissatisfaction with currently owned brands. Check the column under ‘Others’ to see the manifestation of this. Every brand is facing a double-digit brand switch to other brands that did not make it to the Users’ Choice Club. This behavior is unique in only this segment and vendors need to watch out. Logitech is the worst affected with as many as 44 percent wanting to shift thus.

Mercury also has 30 percent of current owners wanting to shift to brands that did not make it to the Club. And another 13 percent want to move to winner Creative. Even Creative is not spared from this urge to move on, with as much as 24 percent of current owners wanting to move to ‘Other’ and 12 percent spread between Logitech, Mercury and Philips.

On the other hand, Creative is the only brand that makes significant gains from brands that did not make it to the Club.
What is the prognosis? If the ‘Others’ column is any indication, then the players are in for some tough times, and we could well see significant changes in the brand-switch matrix and even the Users’ Choice Club next year. Falling prices on one side plus the high cost of quality systems is another factor that adds to the imponderables of this segment.

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