CE Retail Sales Fell 5% In ’09, NPD Reports

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PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — Retail sales of consumer electronics fell nearly 5 percent to $106 billion last year, The NPD Group reported.

The decline was attributed to lower average selling prices on relatively flat unit volume.

According to the market research firm’s Consumer Tracking Service, CE price points fell by an average of 6 percent in 2009 while unit sales increased only marginally, to over 1 billion devices for the industry. The sales data excludes video game hardware and software, PC software and mobile phones.

“The industry lost ground last year but in light of the overall economic conditions it was a performance that could have been much worse,” said industry analysis VP Stephen Baker.

Sales trends improved as the year progressed, culminating in a 1.5 percent decline in the fourth quarter, compared with a 7 percent drop during the last three months of 2008.

The 1.5 percent decline represented the best quarterly performance since the second quarter of 2008, and accounted for almost 32 percent of total CE revenue in 2009, NPD said.

In addition, brick-and-mortar retailers increased their CE market share for the fourth consecutive year, propelled by twopoint share gains in computers and TVs. Best Buy once again sold the most CE in 2009 and gained more revenue share than any other retailer. Joining it in the top-five tier was Walmart, Staples, Target and Apple’s retail store chain, NPD reported.

In contrast, Dell led in online CE sales, followed by Amazon.com, Best Buy, Hewlett-Packard and Apple, although online-only non-vendor etailers had the best showing, with sales up 9 percent for that channel.

Consumer spending varied by income bracket, with middle-income consumers cutting back the most. Spending within that group, whose income ranges between $30,000 and $100,000, declined almost 8 percent from 2008, while lowerincome consumers decreased their CE spending by 3 percent. Those with incomes over $100,000 reigned in their CE expenditures by just over 1 percent.


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