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NPD: Tablets, Smartphones Bright Spots For Q4


Tablets and smartphones will be the
bright spots in an “otherwise dismal holiday outlook,”
said The NPD Group’s industry analysis VP Stephen
Baker in a webinar organized by TWICE.

In the second quarter, he noted, tablets/e-readers
and smartphones accounted for more than 15 percent
of consumer-level CE industry dollar sales.

Smartphones, propelled by big new-product launches
that spur smartphone interest, will be the “core CE
category this holiday,” he said. And iPads will be the
“must-have” product for the second consecutive holiday

“High unit volumes and repeat buyers make phones
the most reliable traffic-creating category for retail in
Q4,” he said. And in other good news for retailers, Baker
said he has found “no evidence of any price pressure”
in the smartphone market. In the second quarter,
he pointed out, smartphones priced at $150 and
more accounted for 25 percent of smartphone unit
sellthrough, up from the year-ago 20 percent and consistent
with the 24 percent to 26 percent share ranges
in the quarters in between.

Smartphones continue to increase their unit-sales
share, he added, rising to 58 percent of all cellphones
purchased by consumers in the second quarter, up
from 42 percent in the year-ago quarter.

Although retailers are enjoying smartphone growth,
carriers still account for a majority of smartphone sales
to consumers, NPD found. Carriers’ smartphone share
hit 72 percent in the second quarter compared to 70
percent in the previous quarter, 66 percent in the fourth
quarter of 2010, 64 percent in the third quarter of 2010,
and 71 percent in the second quarter of 2010, NPD

In the tablet market, the iPad “is the most important
holiday SKU,” Baker said. The iPad will “remain the
dominant device in the category” and is “unlikely to see
significant competition from tier 1 OEM,” he continued.

New tablet entrants in the fourth quarter “will be
price-driven despite the launch of some gen-2 Android
devices.” First-generation Android tablets “will be used
as traffic drivers for both Black Friday and [the] holiday
in general.”

Although sales of non-iPad tablet are rising, Apple’s
sales lead is more than 4-to-1, Baker said. For the April
2010 through August 2011 period, he noted, consumers
bought almost 19 million iPads and only 4.5 million
other-brand tablets.

Excluding Hewlett-Packard, unit-share leaders in
the non-iPad tablet segment during the October 2010
through August 2011 period were, in order, Samsung,
Motorola, Acer, Asus, Archos, Coby, Viewsonic and RIM, NPD found.

Although the iPad is the market leader, Apple-
direct sales accounted for 56 percent of
iPads sold during the October 2010 through
June 2011 period, leaving other retailers with
a lot less sales opportunity that they otherwise
could have had, NPD found. During the
period, Best Buy accounted for 23 percent of
sales, with carriers accounting for 5 percent,
Target with 4 percent, and all others accounting
for 11 percent.

The large installed bases of tablets and
smartphones and their high sales velocities
make them ideal segments for accessory
sales at the time of initial sale or later, Baker