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PCs, Camcorders Lead Flat Thanksgiving Week Sales: NPD

Washington, N.Y.
– Computers and camcorders were the top-selling consumer
electronics products during the week of Black Friday, and were also among the period’s
most heavily promoted categories.

Total CE volume was down 1.2 percent for the week to just over $2.7 billion, but ahead of last year’s 3.4 percent decline.

According to point-of-sale data collected
by The NPD Group, computers led the CE pack
with a 63 percent surge in unit volume from Nov. 22-28, followed by camcorders
(up 55 percent), Blu-ray Disc players (up 53 percent) and computer hard drives
(up 33 percent).

Unit sales of flat-panel TVs
increased 15 percent Thanksgiving week, tying GPS devices, while volume for point-and-shoot
cameras and multifunction printers were flat year over year.

Computer sales were spurred by new
form factors, the launch of Windows 7 and new pricing lows, NPD said. Indeed,
price points for notebook computers fell 26 percent to an average of $500, a
decline of $160 from 2008 when retails fell 8 percent, the market research firm

Similarly, prices fell an average of
33 percent for camcorders, compared with 7 percent in 2008, although price
drops on GPS eased from last year’s 22 percent decline to 14 percent this year.

The promotions, though relatively
rational, nevertheless took a toll on revenue. Despite the 15 percent surge in
flat-panel unit sales, dollar volume fell 9 percent as the average selling
price of flat-panel TVs dropped more than 20 percent to $535, on top of a $200 decline
in 2008.

“Consumers came out
this year because there were deals to be had – the same reason they have been
shopping for electronics all year,” said NPD industry analysis VP Stephen Baker. “What
made Black Friday different this year is how aggressive those price cuts
were. This year retailers and manufacturers knew it wasn’t going to be
about increasing revenue; it needed to be about getting consumers excited to
shop and moving those products out of the stores.”