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Holiday CE Sales Slipped 4%: NPD Group


Tough year-over-year
comparisons and a consumer focus on
Black Friday deals sent CE sales down
4 percent for the holiday season, The
NPD Group reported.

NPD, which tracks brick-and-mortar
sell-through at the point of purchase,
said CE sales excluding video games
and mobile phones totaled $14.9 billion
for the 9 weeks prior to Christmas,
and fell 5 percent to $10.3 billion for the
Nov. 21-Dec. 25 period.

“Record sales in 2009 across major
categories such as notebook PCs and
TVs, combined with a significant slowdown
in the pace of price declines,
created a difficult headwind for the industry
in 2010,” observed NPD industry
analysis VP Stephen Baker. “With
retailers and manufacturers focused on
price maintenance, tech consumers ignored
early-season promotions and instead
keyed in on the traditionally priceaggressive
deals offered during Black
Friday and the week before Christmas.”

As a result, sales for the first three
weeks of November and the first three
weeks of December were “significantly
weaker than the traditional bookmark
shopping periods,” he said.

Within TV, unit sales rose more than
5 percent for the four weeks, ended
Dec. 25, while revenue declined by 2
percent. Plasma, which “delivered great
value in large sizes,” enjoyed a 32 percent
increase in unit volume while revenue
declined 8 percent as average selling
prices (ASPs) fell almost 15 percent
to $728, NPD reported.

The 32-inch LCD, 2009’s “hot product,”
was not nearly as popular in 2010,
NPD found, with unit volume dipping
2 percent year over year. Instead, the
fastest-growing flat-panel TV segment
was the 46- to 47-inch category, which
increased 31 percent in units. Sales of
TVs larger than 50 inches also showed
strong growth, jumping 21 percent as
new technologies like 3D, Internet connectivity
and LED backlighting fueled

Tough year-ago comparisons for
the PC market, which was boosted by
the launch of Windows 7 and strong
netbook demand in 2009, was compounded
by the “tremendous success”
of tablets in 2010, NPD said. The market
research group previously estimated
that tablet cannibalization rates could run as high as 15 percent, likely impacting
the sales of close to 1 million PCs
during the holiday season.

As a result, notebook unit volume fell
9 percent with little to no discounting,
as ASPs remained flat. Netbook unit volume
declined 38 percent vs. last holiday
and accounted for 19 percent of Windows
notebook sales, down from 27
percent during the prior year. Desktop
sales also took a hit, dropping 16 percent
in units.

Among the top growth categories
were stereo headphones, which saw a
30 percent unit and 48 percent dollar
increase over 2009. d-SLR cameras
grew 16 percent in units and 23 percent
in dollars, while Blu-ray unit volume
jumped 27 percent and hard drives
were up double digits for the second
straight year.

Taking it on the chin in unit volume
were point-and-shoot cameras, which
declined 9 percent; MP3 players, down
8 percent; GPS, which fell 24 percent;
and digital picture frames, down 24

“The industry suffered during the
2010 holiday season as the high-volume
categories such as cameras and
MP3 players experienced unit volume
declines,” Baker said. “Though more
niche and converged devices were attractive
to consumers looking to replace
older products, the volumes to drive industry
growth simply weren’t there.”