The future of DAB is in the balance as sales of the technology have been recorded to have slowed through 2008 according to figures recently released. Unfortunately for the DAB technology sales in the digital radios fell by 10 per cent through the final three months of 2008 in comparison to 2007, marking the first recorded quarter that the digital radio technology has felt a drop in year on year sales since digital radio sales were first recorded six years ago.
Being market as a success throughout the middle-class homes in the country, the digital radio was set to take over from analogue radio in the same way that digital television is gearing up to take over from analogue television. However, there has been no date set as yet as to when analogue radio will be completely switched off and this uneasiness is starting to ripple through the growth of the DAB market.
Still, the battle that DAB faces against the ongoing pressure applied by the popular internet radio platform rages on and could in the end derail DAB’s hopes for taking over the future of the radio waves. The effects of Internet radio are being compared to what is being seen stunting the growth of Blu-Ray DVDs as video content is being delivered digitally.
The figures speak for themselves in this situation and clearly show the popularity of the DAB radio could simply have fallen into being labelled a ‘fad’. More than 500,000 DAB units were sold through December 2008, however that figure is down by 10 per cent compared to December 2007 and has fallen well short of predictions made by the Digital Radio Development Bureau, falling around 20 per cent below the forecast.
The chief executive of DRDB, Tony Moretta, claimed that the figures were encouraging despite falling below the forecasted sales as the results could have been much worse in the wake of the economic recession.
“At the end of the day any forecast from any body a year ago would not have predicted what has happened to the economy. There aren’t many industries or companies that have hit their targets for the year. We are still seeing growth. Despite lots of sometimes negative stories in the press, consumers are still going out and buying digital radios,” said Moretta.
Moretta felt that the outlook for the DAB device is bright and that these figures do not represent the country’s feelings on the technology. “Consumer confidence in DAB remains high and it is important that retailers and manufacturers do not lose sight. At a time when other consumer electronics products are suffering declining volumes and value, DAB radio is holding its market position and growing its share versus analogue devices,” continued Moretta, who also blamed a “lack of stock” in many retail stores to be a key issue around the Christmas period.
2009 will be a decisive year for the future of the DAB device which will be looking to make progress in a difficult economy.