CE Sales Increase 2% For Top 100 Retailers

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NEW YORK — Retail sales of consumer electronics products rose 1.8 percent last year for the industry’s 100 largest dealers. Their total haul: $121.3 billion, up from $119.1 billion in 2008.

Not a bad take for the worst year of the worst recession in decades.

But the numbers, which came by way of the TWICE Top 100 CE Retailers report, our annual review of the state of electronics retailing, reveal a tale of two cities in 2009, as some businesses saw their fortunes soar and others rode out the clock to oblivion. Most Top 100 dealers took a licking with singleand double-digit declines last year, but lived to see another day.

Last year’s slim sales total also trails the 3 percent net increase eked out in 2008.

The rankings, compiled by TWICE research partner The Stevenson Company of Louisville, Ky., reconfirmed the concentration of CE buying power among a handful of chains. The 10 largest dealers accounted for 74 percent of Top 100 volume last year, while those ranked 26th through 100th together represented less than 10 percent of sales.

Not surprisingly, Best Buy, with a healthy 7 percent sales gain, retained its No. 1 berth on the Top 100 charts, while flat sales kept No. 2 Walmart at arm’s length last year. A 6 percent sales decline left Apple a distant third.

At the other end of the spectrum, former and current NATM buying group members Queen City (down 8 percent) and Cowboy Maloney’s (up 5 percent) returned to the rankings after several years’ absence, coming in at Nos. 99 and 100, respectively.

New to the rankings this year are Geeks.com, a 13-year-old IT e-tailer that came in at No. 80, and InMotion Entertainment, which operates 55 CE shops in airports around the country. It makes its Top 100 debut at No. 89.

Dealers probably making their final appearance on the listing include Bernie’s and MyerEmco.

Paul’s TV earns kudos for greatest growth. The Southern California A/V specialist, ranked 70th with a bullet, saw its CE sales skyrocket 75 percent last year as it rolled out in-store shops to furniture chains. Its gains were nearly twice those of the next biggest mover, Amazon.com (No. 8), which increased CE revenue by 40 percent.

Conversely, companies taking it on the chin during the last year of the first decade of the new millennium included Magnolia Audio Video (No. 77), down 46 percent, and Ritz Camera (No. 37), off by 42 percent.

Viewed by channel of distribution, multiregional CE and majap chains such as Best Buy, Fry’s and hhgregg accounted for the largest share of Top 100 dollars at 28.6 percent, or $32.6 billion in sales.

Mass merchants such as Sears, Walmart and Target comprised the second-largest chunk of Top 100 revenue, with 23.5 percent, or $28.5 billion in sales.

Market share for most distribution channels remained fairly static during 2009, despite the loss of Circuit City. Indeed, Circuit’s CE-only grouping only shed 60 basis points of Top 100 share year over year, while the massmerchant category slipped 30 basis points on volume declines at Sears and Kmart. Only the national CE/majap chains showed significant movement, with market share up nearly 1 full percentage point from 2008.


NEW YORK — The TWICE Top 100 CE Retailers Report ranks the leading domestic CE dealers by sales of consumer electronics.

Sales figures are based on information that was supplied by retailers responding to a 300-dealer survey by TWICE and its research partner The Stevenson Company. Absent retailers’ input, estimates were developed from Stevenson’s internal market tracking surveys (TraQline), industry sizing based on wholesale shipment figures from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and other sources, and average retail price points by product.

All estimates were further refined through the use of public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), TWICE industry analyses, retail analysts’ financial reports, published data and other external sources.

Once the estimate was determined to be a reasonable assumption of the retailer’s CE sales, the figure was broken out by product category based on the TraQline surveys.

Sales figures by total and by category for 2009 were then compared to 2008 sales tallies, and adjusted if necessary to more closely track total reported revenue growth.

Businesses must meet the following criteria to be considered consumer electronics retailers and to qualify for inclusion in the Top 100 report:

• sells new products directly to consumers;

• has physical retail store locations, or has a significant online presence;

• sells consumer electronic products as one of its principal lines of business;

• does not offer consumer electronics products primarily to sell its transmission services, i.e. wireless carriers, cable operators, satellite radio/TV providers; and

• sells merchandise that is considered consumer electronics products as defined by the CEA (see product definitions below).

Sales are considered to be the revenue received for the products sold primarily to consumers, including CE hardware and accessories; personal computers, peripherals and software; and video game platforms and software.

Sales of prerecorded music CDs and movie DVDs and Blu-ray discs are excluded from the report.

Respondents were also instructed to exclude revenues received for installation services, repair services, rentals, extended- service contracts and vendor marketing support, as well as sales to the business, government and education channels.

Based on The Stevenson Company’s proprietary methodology, a refined baseline was developed for this annual project effective with the 2005 Top 100 CE Retailers report, our first collaboration, covering the years 2003 and 2004. Therefore, comparisons with Top 100 reports issued prior to 2005 would be imprecise.

The Stevenson Company, based in Louisville, Ky., began as the global economic analysis and research department of GE Appliances. Now independent, the market research firm has served the consumer electronics and major appliances industries for the past 13 years by developing markets sizing and market share estimates. Its TraQline syndicated quarterly survey of 150,000 shoppers measures retail purchases of consumer durables and provides estimates of unit and dollar market share and other key measures.

So What’s A CE Product?

As defined by the Consumer Electronics Association, here is a breakdown of what constitutes a consumer electronics product and what was included in the Top 100’s sales totals:



Miscellaneous accessories

Audio products:

Home speakers
CD players (home and portable)
Home theater in a box
Pocket and portable radios
MP3 players
Mini stereos
Clock radios
Blank CDs and cassette tapes

Communications products:

Cordless phones
Corded phones
Answering machines
Fax machines
CB radios

Video products:

Blu-ray and DVD players
DVD recorders
Hard-disk recorders
Satellite TV dishes, systems
TVs and TV/VCRs
Blank DVD/VHS media
Video game players
Video games


Desktop/notebook PCs
External drives
CD-R decks
Hardware (cards, hard drives,
keyboards, mice, etc.)
Digital cameras
Flash media


Car speakers
Car radios
Car CD players
Car amps
Satellite radios
Car radar detectors
Burglar alarms
Mobile TVs
Video monitors
Car media players (DVDs, VCRs)
Car receivers


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