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NPD: Back-To-School Spending Up For CE

9/19/2006 10:41:00 AM Eastern

Port Washington, N.Y. – Back-to-school spending on consumer electronics increased 6.4 percent in dollar volume over the same time period in 2005, The NPD Group reports.

The gains, which include sales of IT, imaging and A/V products from the first week of July through the end of Labor Day week, could portent solid demand during the coming holiday selling season.

Notebook computers had an especially strong showing, with unit sales up 50 percent year-over-year. Dollar volume increased about 18 percent despite a decline in average selling prices from about $1,081 in 2005 to $849 this year.

By contrast, desktop computers took a backseat with revenue down almost 17 percent and unit sales off about 3.5 percent.

“Notebook computers have been making a move in the PC market,” said NPD’s Stephen Baker, VP, industry analysis. “For back-to-school, especially for high school and college students, it’s more practical to purchase a notebook to take to class and to the library.”

The portable theme resonated among back-to-school purchases, with unit sales of accessories for portable digital players up 50 percent and dollar sales up almost 40 percent. Sales of portable digital players themselves experienced unit sales growth of about 18 percent.

One of the brightest lights of the back-to-school season was LCD TV. Sales of panels under 26 inches increased 57 percent in units as the average selling price dropped from $482 dollars in 2005 to $336 this year.

“When space becomes an issue, which it does for college-bound students, small-screen LCD TVs are the perfect addition for a dorm room,” said Baker. “Kids, whether they are 12 or 22, want the latest and greatest technology, and parents want the best bang for their buck. LCD TVs are a way to keep everyone satisfied.”