New Research on Professional Mixer Consoles Forecasts Market to be Worth US$1 Billion in 2023

September 4 2019, 02:20
The professional mixer console market achieved global revenues of US$775 million in 2018 and is on track for annual sales of nearly US$1 billion by 2023, according to a comprehensive new report from Futuresource Consulting. The market research firm has been focusing on specific product categories in the professional audio industry, from microphones to professional headphones, which have not been fully characterized before on a global perspective. Audio mixers are an interesting category, since they are right at the core of the action.
DiGiCo is the market leader in digital audio consoles for live productions, touring, and theater applications with its FPGA-based platforms. The familiar surface structure and layered menus have become a de facto standard for live sound operations.

“Most of the action centres around the lower end of the market,” says James Kirby, Research Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “Consoles, with less than 24 input channels, accounted for over 80% of unit sales last year. Not only does the segment take the lion’s share of volume, it’s also the fastest growing, with our five-year forecasts showing twice the growth of high-end mixers. In addition to traditional usage, this expansion is being helped along by a rising number of prosumers using mixer consoles to create Internet content.

“At the high end there’s a different picture. Sales mainly consist of replacements and upgrades, and vendors are feeling the squeeze of a shrinking addressable market in some key verticals. However, many manufacturers are also finding opportunity in targeting the installation verticals and some key hotspots in the market, such as corporate and hospitality event spaces and venues.”

Meanwhile, Futuresource highlights that the online channel will continue to drive mixer console sales across the market. “Although the bulk of equipment sold is at the lower value end, even high-end consoles, priced upwards of $80,000, are now listed online,” added Kirby. “In many cases, sound engineers and technicians are highly educated purchasers and usually know the products they need and want when it comes to replacing a console. With many manufacturers providing their own after sales care, the reasons to purchase through channel continue to become less important.
Allen & Heath is one of the most successful examples of a company migration to digital platforms, creating a whole portfolio of small to mid-size advanced audio mixers at affordable prices that do not compromise on features.

“In the quest for new business, mixer suppliers are not only allowing customers to buy consoles direct from their websites, they are also radically improving their online presence in an attempt to regain valuable buyer behavior insights and improve margins,” comments Kirby. “This includes branching out into a robust logistics offering, returns handling and enhanced product support. However, online channels are driving down prices and reducing margins, as price-conscious customers stampede towards the cheapest supplier. Yet it’s not all bad news, as savvy vendors are developing innovative marketing strategies and attention-grabbing tactics, as well as sponsoring YouTube content creators and increasing brand outreach through social media.”

After a period of major change, with digital coming to the fore and the introduction of new products like Behringer’s X32, the mixer console industry is now looking to smaller, incremental changes. With a focus on software markets and remote operation via smartphone or tablet, brands are exploring ways to improve competitive advantage, boost brand awareness and create a raft of product features. Providing solutions to specific needs has become more important than ever and brands must look to wider content creation, live performance and install industry trends to gain share in the modern mixer console market.
Companies such as Mackie have successfully explored the concept of rack mount mixers for live sound, where control is done using one or multiple tablets. The Mackie Axis expands the concept with a larger physical control surface that integrates with iPad screens.

The new 79-page professional mixer console report from Futuresource Consulting spans the spectrum of professional mixers, from entry level consoles with four input channels to high-end consoles with hundreds of inputs. It also shows breakouts for analogue versus digital and focuses on the five key verticals of touring and rental, installed leisure, portable sound, installed commercial and utilities, and broadcast and studio.
The Waves eMotion LV1 is a software-based, tactile screen mixing solution that is gaining acceptance even in the most critical applications of live performance. Pictured is Trevor Wright, Technical Director at Road to Life, RTL Michigan City campus, mixing with the LV1. Image courtesy of Waves.
related items