Vice President, Industry Advisor - Technology & Mobile
Stephen Baker offers expert insight and commentary to clients and the media about consumer technology sales and trends across the U.S. and regionally. His perspectives cover retail and e-commerce, computer hardware and peripherals, holiday and yearly sales results, and analysis of new products and their impact on the consumer technology market.
Stephen has been tracking and analyzing the technology industry for more for 30 years. He is quoted extensively in industry publications such as TWICE, CNET, and CE Daily, and in business and news publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Verge, Engadget, USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily, Business Week, and The San Jose Mercury News.
He has appeared on CNBC, Fox News, and CNN and presented and served on panels at industry events such as Electronics Retail Summit, CTA Research Summit, CES, and E3.
Stephen was a founding employee at Staples and began his career at Staples in 1986, helping to open the first office superstore in the U.S. He spent nine years with the company, where he gained extensive knowledge and understanding of retail and the office supplies and consumer technology industries. Stephen joined The NPD Group upon its acquisition of PC Data Inc. in March 2001; he had been PC Data’s principal hardware analyst and director of the overall hardware point-of-sale business. Prior to joining PC Data, Stephen was a senior analyst in the distribution channels service at International Data Corporation (IDC).
Stephen received an MBA from Northeastern University and holds a BSFS from Georgetown University.
NPD’s Technology Industry Advisor, Stephen Baker, analyzes what he believes is the most interesting aspect of Amazon’s recent announcements: the clear path Amazon continues to take in both owning and partnering within its ecosystems.
The growth in voice-enabled speakers has allowed consumers to begin to see the value of a more integrated smart home ecosystem. By providing a line of sight to a more robust smart home experience, speakers have become a leading indicator of smart home adoption.
Each year around the holidays, NPD provides what we have come to call the Baker’s Dozen - a list of 13 predictions for the holiday season, as it relates to technology products and retail trends.
With Amazon’s now annual summer buying event upon us, we’re looking back at the past two years to evaluate the impact of Prime Day to tech vendors, to Amazon’s tech business, to Amazon’s Kindle/Echo businesses and to online consumer tech as a whole.
Last year in our Black Friday blog we noted that it appeared most retailers had the holiday figured out. When to open on Thanksgiving, how focused to be on online shopping vs in-store, when to promote and how to do it. Sadly, I think we were a bit premature in declaring a victory (or least an armistice) in the holiday shopping wars. This year many electronics brick-and-mortar retailers succumbed to the reality that opening on Thanksgiving was only for the biggest traffic aggregators, like the malls, and pushed their promotions to Friday morning. Unfortunately, what they missed is that Black Friday, as an event and a shopping experience, has ceased to exist. There were few if any lines at 6:00 a.m. on Black Friday, as that traffic long ago migrated to Thanksgiving Eve or online, yet many retailers continue to chase it.
NPD Highlights: Consumer Tech for the Holidays
The news today is full of doom and gloom about the future of the PC. Undoubtedly, there are plenty of challenges ahead for the category, but there is also plenty of room for optimism. While we celebrate so many things in tech that have been reimagined or disrupted we have given short shrift to the reinvention of the PC; in fact, we have given little notice to it at all. The numbers tell a great story of redemption and reinvention, but like all great tales that have to do with data, it is all in how you organize and interpret the data.
Never Mind Black Friday – Windows PC Pricing Takes an Early Holiday Plunge