NPD: Key CE Categories Seeing Increased Adoption Patterns

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In a possible sign of softening economic pressure for consumer electronics devices, consumers continued to snap up flat-panel TVs, Blu-ray Disc players, netbooks, e-readers, GPS devices and digital cameras from a year ago, according The

NPD Group's

2010 Consumer Technology Household Online Penetration Study.

The study polled more than 2,400 respondents from NPD's proprietary opt-in online consumer panel in mid-April 2010, in order to assess household penetration rates for CE devices.

In the home, flat-panel TVs grew slightly to 64 percent, up from 61 percent in 2009, while the percentage of households with two or more flat-panel televisions remained flat, NPD said.

The broadening penetration of HDTV coupled with lower player prices, however, proved to be a boon for stand-alone Blu-ray players, which nearly doubled since last year, going from just 6 percent in 2009 to 11 percent in 2010. The survey indicated that deep discounting during the 2009 holiday season was a key factor for the increase.

While the PC market continued to be driven by replacement with overall notebook penetration remaining flat, netbook penetration nearly doubled, moving from 4 percent in 2009 to 8 percent in 2010. PC sales were driven in part by the release of new operating systems from Microsoft and Apple, NPD said.

"Consumers are flocking to products that offer slim profiles and access to digital content," stated Ross Rubin, NDP industry analysis executive director. "Devices such as Blu-ray players, netbooks and e-readers are being used to enable rich, connected experiences."

E-readers, including Amazon's Kindle and Sony's Reader, continued to be among the CE high points coming off of the 2009 holiday season, with household penetration reaching 5 percent.

Flash-memory-based camcorders saw household penetration jump from 5 percent last year to 10 percent, as consumers were attracted to declining prices and better recording quality. NPD said the category still has plenty of room for growth in the coming years.

The market research firm said certain consumer segments are driving that penetration rate faster than others, as households with children had a 13 percent penetration rate vs. 9 percent of those without children.

Portable navigation devices are now found in nearly 40 percent of U.S. households, up from 30 percent in 2009, NPD said. Low average prices, data-plan-free usage and simplicity of use have helped the category hold up against competition from cellphones.

Compact digital cameras have plateaued at 73 percent, the survey found, but more and more homes are adding two or more cameras. Households with two or more cameras rose from 22 percent in 2009 to 25 percent in 2010, NPD said. However, those who had funds to spend were able to invest in more creative imaging devices.

For example, d-SLRs, at 11 percent household penetration, didn't see an overall increase in household penetration, but penetration rose from 18 percent in 2009 to 22 percent among more affluent households.

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