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CE Holiday Sales Slip 1%: NPD

LAS VEGAS – Retail sales of consumer
electronics declined 0.8 percent to $10.8 billion during the five-week holiday
period of Nov. 22 through Dec. 26, The NPD Group reported, compared with a 6
percent decline in 2008.

The holiday tally
was dragged down by TV, which rose 16 percent in unit sales but fell 12 percent
in dollar volume as the average selling price (ASP) of a flat-panel set sank 25
percent to $525. The revenue decline was the steepest of all the CE categories included
in NPD’s point-of-sale data.

In contrast,
notebook computers saw the greatest revenue growth with dollar volume up 30
percent, as a 68 percent surge in unit sales offset a 23 percent decline in

Other revenue
growth leaders included desktop PCs (up 27 percent) and d-SLR cameras (up 16 percent), while Blu-ray Disc
players and camcorders were among the top categories in unit-volume growth,
with gains of 44 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

BD players also
experienced the great price declines of all categories tracked, as ASPs fell 34
percent to $151.

“Just cutting
prices this year was not enough to guarantee successful sales results,” said NPD
industry analysis VP Stephen Baker. “Flat-panel TVs had a disappointing
holiday because there wasn’t enough price-cutting on the right items, while
notebook PCs and camcorders offered new form factors and price points that
drove enormous increases in units and revenue despite falling prices.”

On a weekly basis,
sales growth peaked the week ending Dec. 5, which included the Sunday of Black Friday
weekend and Cyber Monday. Sales for the week grew 3.7 percent but accounted for
only 15 percent of total holiday revenue. In contrast, the final week of the
season, ending Dec. 26, was essentially flat year-over-year with 0.3 percent
growth, but accounted for 22 percent of total holiday sales.

dynamics of the holiday season changed this year; the holiday season started
before Black Friday as retailers ran Black Friday-like sales throughout
November,” Baker observed. “That move may have lessened the Black Friday hype
for consumers, but the increase during the final week of the season is a sign
that consumers either went back out or waited it out to get the best deal.”

The sales results,
based on NPD’s Weekly Tracking Service, exclude video game products, mobile
phones and sell-through at Wal-Mart.