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Digital radio sales soaring

Trade body DRDB says 6.5 million sold last year

Radio fans are still clamouring to pick up a new DAB digital set, according to the latest sales figures.

Between October and December more than a million DAB radios were sold – with about 550,000 flying off shop shelves in December alone.

That’s up 22% on December 2006 figures, according to the Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB).

However, some consumers have yet to be persuaded – the trade body’s research also shows that less than one in three homes has a digital set.

Best sellers

The latest sales figures show that the digital best sellers were portable kitchen radios, MP3s with personal radios, hi-fi systems and, particularly, clock radios.

At one point in December, John Lewis reported selling six digital radios a minute.

The DRDB says that by the end of 2007, 6.45 million had been sold in the UK – up from 4.4 million in 2006.

It also forecasts further sales of 2.6 million DAB radios in 2008, which it says would bring the percentage of UK homes with a digital radio to 30%.

CD-quality audio

Which? Technology Editor Matthew Bath says: ‘Digital radio broadcasts offer a richer listening experience over traditional analogue, with less interference and CD-quality audio, and let you tune to radio stations far more easily than hunting for hard-to-remember FM frequencies by turning a dial.

‘But while digital will ultimately replace analogue broadcasts, traditional FM radios represent the majority of sets being used today. It will be many years before any kind of digital radio switchover takes place.’

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