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Consumer Electronic Sales Fell 5.6% on Black Friday

by Todd Haselton | December 4, 2012December 4, 2012 10:00 am PDT

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Sales of consumer electronics in the U.S. fell 5.6 percent year-over-year on Black Friday, according to new research published on Tuesday by The NPD Group. Televisions, Android tablets and PCs were the most purchased items, accounting for 58% of all consumer electronic sales on the popular shopping day.

“This slow start is merely a continuation of the challenges seen in the consumer electronics business throughout 2012,” Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, said. “In an unbalanced market, where just a few categories deliver significant dollars, and even fewer offer any growth, the ability to deliver positive results will remain difficult for companies exposed to the entire consumer electronics marketplace.”

Flat panel TV revenue decreased 6 percent even though unit volumes increased by 4 percent, which NPD attributed to the falling average price of televisions. 40 percent of all TV revenue came from 32-inch TVs, the research firm said. Sales of televisions with 60-inch screens and above increased 10 fold over the same period two years ago, too.

Sales of notebook computers dropped 10 percent, despite the introduction of new Windows 8 computers. Even sales of Apple’s laptops were flat, the firm said, but Windows PC sales tanked 10%.

“The weaker categories, and ones that had once been high-gifting categories, drove down overall revenue,” said Baker. “In addition to the declines seen in point-and-shoot cameras and MP3 players, GPS revenue dropped 40 percent as did camcorder revenue. Even though this holiday’s outlook remains tentative at best, the prospects for next year, (when many of these declining categories will have a much smaller impact on the market,) looks much more promising.”

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Black Friday U.S. Retail Consumer Electronics Sales Decline Nearly 6 Percent, According to NPD

Declines point to industry struggles and weak outlook for rest of holiday season

Port Washington, New York (PRWEB) December 04, 2012

U.S. consumer electronics* retail sales for Black Friday** declined 5.6 percent, a steeper than anticipated decline according to leading market research company The NPD Group’s Weekly Tracking Service***. The drop follows last year’s loss of nearly 4 percent. PCs, Android tablets, and TVs accounted for 58 percent of all sales dollars, up from 51 percent of sales in 2009.

“This slow start is merely a continuation of the challenges seen in the consumer electronics business throughout 2012,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD. “In an unbalanced market, where just a few categories deliver significant dollars, and even fewer offer any growth, the ability to deliver positive results will remain difficult for companies exposed to the entire consumer electronics marketplace.”

Despite a 4 percent increase in unit volume, flat-panel TV revenue dropped 6 percent as a result of average selling prices (ASP) falling from $367 last year to $333 this year. A record 40 percent of all flat-panel unit volume came from 32-inch TVs, but with an all-time low ASP of $194 those sales dragged overall revenue down. Flat-panels 50-inches and above, experienced a unit volume increase of 65 percent. The real star of that segment, though, was the 60-inch and above flat-panel TVs. Those sales increased 10 times over 2010 and accounted for 6 percent of all TV unit volume compared to less than 1 percent two years ago.

Notebook PCs continued their year long struggle as units fell 10 percent, with sales of Apple notebooks flat and Windows notebooks down 10 percent. Windows 8 represented 89 percent of notebook sales with an ASP of $368, and touchscreens accounted for 3 percent of sales with an ASP of $668.

Other strong categories outside the top five volume leaders included detachable lens cameras, which saw revenues grow by 16 percent, and headphones where units increased 15 percent and revenue rose by 33 percent. Strong sales of sound bars and streaming-capable speakers pointed to the strength in the audio market as sales dollars rose in those categories by 47 percent and 276 percent, respectively.

“The weaker categories, and ones that had once been high-gifting categories, drove down overall revenue,” said Baker. “In addition to the declines seen in point-and-shoot cameras and MP3 players, GPS revenue dropped 40 percent as did camcorder revenue. Even though this holiday’s outlook remains tentative at best, the prospects for next year, (when many of these declining categories will have a much smaller impact on the market,) looks much more promising.”

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Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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