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.