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Nov. CE Sales Flat At Retail: NPD

Port Washington,
N.Y. – Retail sales of consumer electronics were flat in
November, although it was also the first month of the year without any

Revenue was up slightly to more than $7.1 billion dollars, The
NPD Group reported, compared with a 14 percent decline in November 2008.

The report, based on point-of-sale data and consumer surveys,
excludes video game products and mobile phones.

 Sales volume was fueled by early Black Friday promotions, strong
performance in core product categories like notebook computers, and from what
NPD described as “surprising improvements” in camcorders, desktop PCs and wireless
home networking.

Growth in those areas helped offset continued revenue weakness in
high-volume segments, such as digital cameras, MP3 players and flat-panel TVs,
where average selling prices (ASPs) have contracted dramatically.

Nevertheless, some categories, including desktop PCs and d-SLR
cameras, were able to buck the trend and deliver strong ASPs and positive
revenue growth, NPD said.

d-SLRs led the November dollar surge, with a 44 percent increase
in revenue and a 7 percent hike in ASPs year over year.

In contrast, flat-panel TV revenue fell 7 percent and ASPs
declined 22 percent.

As a result, the average selling price of a d-SLR ($812) was
higher than that of a flat-panel TV ($585) in November.

Still, TVs and netbooks together accounted for about 40 percent
of CE revenue last month.

Although NPD industry analyst VP Stephen Baker is projecting a
decline in total CE sales for 2009, he found some heartening signs in
November’s numbers.

“Where November differed was the appearance of new categories starting
to show positive trends,” he wrote in a blog at

. “Wireless
networking equipment showed its strongest positive revenue growth month of the
year, digital-SLR cameras were positive for the third month in a row after
months of declining revenue, and multifunction printers, as well as
single-function laser printers, showed positive revenue trends. Both home-theater
systems and stereo receivers were [either] flat or positive in November as were
camcorders, mice and desktop PCs.”

Baker said that such a “restoration of balance is essential if
2010 is to see a renewal of industry growth.”