Whilst nightclubs, cinemas, bars, and other places of entertainment have been put on pause over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a huge growth in the sales of domestic Hi-Fi, Home Cinema, and personal audio equipment for AV Online, the Lancashire-based audiovisual retailer.

With much of the UK under lockdown throughout 2020 and the early part of 2021, the restrictions on socialising have meant that people are upgrading their audio set-ups to recreate the ‘going out’ audio experience at home.

Visitors on the website for Hi-Fi equipment including vinyl turntables, amplifiers, and speaker systems have jumped dramatically since 2019 with record numbers looking to upgrade or replace their existing audio systems. More time spent on the sofa streaming Netflix and other online services has also led to rising sales of soundbars, amplifiers, and home cinema receivers with customers looking to recreate the cinema experience.

The specialist online retailer is riding the wave of people sorting out and rediscovering their record collections in their spare time. Feedback from customers indicates that many have used the time to re-wire existing speaker systems or embarked on a series of home improvements that placed quality audio or home cinema equipment at the heart of a makeover.

Despite the closure of non-essential retail, there has been a big rise in overall UK vinyl record sales with 4.8 million units sold throughout 2020. That boom has led to a three-fold increase in turntable and accessory sales over the past year for AV Online as they have benefited from the revived interest in the format by younger listeners. The growth has been further fuelled by nostalgia with popular albums from bands or artists such as Oasis or Alanis Morissette that have been re-released onto vinyl.

AV Online is based in the Lancashire mill town of Bacup since 2003 and has grown rapidly to become one of the UK’s leading online retailers of Hi-Fi, Home Cinema, and specialist audiovisual equipment. However, the past year has proven to be one of the most challenging with not only the impact of the pandemic, but also other obstacles like Brexit, component shortages, and the rising cost of shipping equipment from countries like China and Vietnam to the UK.

The owner and founder of AV Online, Carl Pickles said: “Our hardest task over the past 12 months has been sourcing products to keep up with demand. However, it has been encouraging to see our customers rediscover their love of music or film over the past year by upgrading their cherished AV systems or embarking on their Hi-Fi or Home Cinema journey”.

Whilst the lockdowns and restrictions are easing, the growth in online sales continues to increase for AV Online and popular lines continue to sell out fast on certain lines such as Denon AV receivers that according to Carl: “often sell-out before going live on the website based on pre-orders alone largely fuelled by the release of the PS5 and upgrades to existing AV systems.”

The past year has been transformative for AV Online and there is no sign that the demand for quality Hi-Fi and Home Cinema equipment is ending with the lockdown.

It is no secret that the audio-visual industry remains a serious passion for enthusiasts who can spend thousands of pounds on high-end equipment, however, it is the challenges of the past year that have unexpectedly introduced an entirely new audience to the world of high-quality audio and vision.