Sonos Looks Outside the Home to be the 'World's Leading Sound Experience Company'

November 16, 2018

By Chloe Aiello

Long a top name for in-home sound, Sonos is expanding into a new frontier ー one that has the potential to give it a foothold in an entirely new market segment.

"Our ambition is to be the world's leading sound experience company and we realize to do that, you have to move outside the home as well, because that's where 50 percent of listening happens," Michael Groeninger, Sonos' vice president of corporate finance, told Cheddar on Friday.

Sonos ($SONO) shares were still soaring Friday following a Thursday evening earnings report that impressed Wall Street. Sonos beat investor expectations on both earnings and revenue in its fall quarter, bolstered by the launch of its new voice-enabled speaker, Sonos Beam soundbar.

"Beam exceeded our forecast," Sonos wrote in a note to investors. "Beam's success drove home theater speaker products revenue up 63 percent in fiscal Q4, and contributed significantly to our Q4 revenue outperformance."

Groeninger said Sonos Beam will be a key product as the consumer electronics company enters its ever-important holiday quarter. Looking to next year, however, the company is especially excited for its products designed for outside the home ー and perhaps outside the company's typical product.

The Santa Barbara-based company has faced rising competition as tech behemoths Amazon, ($AMZN), Google, ($GOOGL), and Apple($AAPL) have entered the connected speaker space. The company has stayed relevant by partnering with some of those same rivals, enabling integrations with their music-streaming services and, more recently, Amazon's Alexa. It's especially important at a time when A.I.-powered voice assistants are on the cutting edge of consumer technology.

"We are partners with all of the big tech companies, but we are also competitors ー and that dynamic works," he said.

Sonos sees outdoor and mobile speakers as a catalyst for more innovation that promises to greatly expand its share of the connected speaker market. Sonos hasn't shared much about what its out-of-home expansion might entail, but Groeninger did tease plans for placing its sound systems outdoors, in commercial businesses and in cars, as well as on-person and and in a portable capacity ー all places "where our customers are listening to audio content," Groeninger said.

"We care deeply about sound. For 16 years, we've cared deeply about sound in the home, and in the future it will be about in the home and beyond," he said.

For full interview click here.