Sales Growth Rates Slow For Notebooks, Other Categories - Twice

Sales Growth Rates Slow For Notebooks, Other Categories

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Port Washington, N.Y. — PC notebook retail sales growth began to show signs of slowing down during this year’s back-to-school season, according to The NPD Group’s weekly point-of-sale data.

For the five weeks from July 15 through Aug. 18, considered the beginning of the season, notebook sales were said to have been up 24 percent in units and 11 percent in dollars, while the average selling price was down 10 percent. During the same period last year, the category’s sales saw a 48 percent increase in units and a 15 percent increase in dollars with the average price down 22 percent.

The research firm noted the notebook sales anomaly as part of larger trend. In a release, it said most other consumer technology categories are also experiencing slower growth rates.

“Notebook sales have exhibited strong growth over the past few years but you can only keep that 50 percent plus growth for so long,” said Stephen Baker, NPD’s industry analysis VP. “We’ve hit a ceiling across most categories; economic issues, market saturation, and changes in consumers’ shopping habits have impacted sales. Price is also a factor. [Prices] aren’t coming down as fast as in prior years, and even though consumers still have the ability to get a great deal, they are less inclined to buy a new notebook PC to replace last year’s model because the deals aren’t as enticing.”

The group pointed to marketing movies among retailers and decreased shelf-space growth rates as possible factors contributing to the decline in growth. NPD cited Fusion-Data that said notebook PC promotions were up only 12 percent during the beginning of this season compared to the 37 percent increase seen in 2006. It also noted that while notebook shelf-space increase 7 percent over last year, the number is still down significantly from 2006 where shelf space had increase 44 percent over 2005.

To see how other categories fared during the first five weeks of the 2007 BTS season, please refer to the chart.

Consumer Technology Back-To-School Retail Sales

July 15 through August 18


Category


2006

Unit % Change


2007

Unit % Change


2006

Dollar % change


2007

Dollar % Change


2006

ASP % Change


2007

ASP % Change


Notebook Accessories


38%


11%


30%


9%


-5%


-2%


External Hard Drives


78%


16%


175%


-28%


54%


-38%


USB Flash Drives


76%


36%


28%


-8


-28%


-32%


Notebook Mice


42%


16%


30%


14%


-8%


-2%


MP3 Players


16%


5%


4%


-8%


-10%


-13%


MP3 Player Accessories


50%


-4%


46%


-9%


-3%


-5%


Calculators


&1%


-2%


3%


-13%


3%


-11%


30 inch and under TVs


-8%


-42%


-7%


-31


1%


18%


Portable DVD Players


17%


-5%


-11%


-10%


-23%


-6%

Source: The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service

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