While DAB technology has a number of vociferous critics, it seems that British consumers are still happy to buy into the format: more than half a million products were sold in December alone in the UK.

"One ray of sunshine in a gloomy Christmas season for retailers was DAB digital radio," the Digital Radio Development Bureau release informs us.

Cumulative DAB sales through to the end of 2008 were 8.53 million units, with over 2 million products sold in 2008. This is up 3 per cent year-on-year when compared with total analogue radio sales, which were down 7 per cent year-on-year. The overall Consumer Electronics market is also down 5 per cent year-on-year.

The DRDB release continues: "Top selling products included DAB clock radios with docking stations, kitchen radios and an in-car DAB adapter. Other popular models were micro hi-fi systems with docking stations, handheld DAB radios and, for the first time, radios combining DAB and Wi-Fi."

Cross category success

"DAB was a cross category success," according to data tracking service GfK, "helping to lessen value decline in many audio sectors and in some, such as clock radio, it has continued to create volume growth."

DRDB Chief Executive, Tony Moretta added that: "Manufacturers tell us sales of DAB radios this Christmas were held back by a lack of stock in some outlets. Where stock was available, DAB radios sold well and some manufacturers have told us they were working 'flat out' until Christmas Eve to supply product.

"Consumer confidence in DAB remains high and it is important that retailers and manufacturers do not lose sight [of this]. 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."