By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. -Cordless phones increased their unit and dollar share of retail-level land-line telecom sales for the 12 months ending September, with most of the gain coming in 900MHz analog models, according to an NPD Intelect Market Tracking survey.
Nonetheless, 900MHz digital and 2.4GHz models also expanded their share. During the 12-month period, cordless phone unit share grew six percentage points to hit 58 percent of sales compared with the previous 12-month period.
Falling prices, however, held back cordless dollar-share growth to four percentage points, bringing the segment's dollar share to 74 percent, NPD found.
Despite 900MHz analog's dominance, 2.4GHz phones and multiuser cordless systems are beginning to penetrate the market, spurred in part by dropping prices, said NPD telecom account manager Peter Arato.
"People are seeing the benefits of more advanced technologies," Arato said. "They translate into real consumer benefits." Those benefits start with 900MHz, which offers better voice quality, more range and improved security compared with older technology models. "And there is still great potential for continued growth as people trade up," he added.
From September 1999-September 2000, cordless phones held a 58 percent unit share of the total telecom market, up from 52 percent for the 12 months ending September 1999. Unit volume increased sharply since 1997, when approximately 20 million units were sold for the 12 months ending September of that year. Sales for the 12 months ending September 2000 soared to approximately 34 million.
Corded phones garnered a 29 percent unit share between September 1999-2000, down from 32 percent for the 12 months ending September 1999.
Compared with the 12 months ending September 1997, corded unit volume has slipped dramatically. For the 12 months ending September 1997, unit sales of corded and cordless phones were dead even at about 20 million each. For the 12 months ending September 2000, corded sales slipped to about 16 million, while cordless sales hit about 33 million.
Corded and cordless sales include models with integrated answering devices.
The numbers for dollar share are more striking. Cordless phones represent 78 percent (up 4 percent from the prior year) of the dollar spent on land-line phones, compared with 15 percent (down 2 percent from the prior year) of corded phones.
While cordless phones remain the more expensive proposition, their average price has dropped consistently, from an average of $80 for the 12 months ending September 1997 to an average of $60 for the 12 months ending September 2000.
Department stores remain the dominant mover of cordless phone products, gobbling up 69 percent of unit share during the 12-month period. Electronics/ office and computer superstores snatched the remaining 31 percent.
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