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NPD Retail Sales Data Shows Consumer Technology Sales down Less Than 1 Percent for the Holiday Season

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, JANUARY 8, 2010 - U.S. consumer technology* retail sales declined less than one percent for the 2009 holiday season**, according to leading market research provider, The NPD Group, which monitors consumer electronics trends.  NPD’s Weekly Tracking Service***shows sales for the five week holiday period rang in at $10.8 billion dollars, a much improved showing from the 6 percent decline during the 2008 holiday season.

The holiday season had its share of ups and downs.  Overall revenue declined three out of the five weeks. While the second week of the season posted the largest revenue growth it only accounted for 15 percent of overall holiday sales. The final week of the season also saw revenue growth and represented 22 percent of all sales, so the success of the final week was much more relevant to the overall success of the season.

“The dynamics of the holiday season changed this year; the holiday season started before Black Friday as retailers ran Black Friday-like sales throughout November,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD.  “That move may have lessened the Black Friday hype for consumers, but the increase during the final week of the season is a sign that consumers either went back out or waited it out to get the best deal. 

U.S. Consumer Technology Weekly Holiday Revenue Percent Change
Week Ending 2008 vs. 2009
Revenue Percent Change
November 28, 2009 -0.30%
December 5, 2009 3.70%
December 12, 2009 -2.70%
December 19, 2009 -4.10%
December 26, 2009 0.30%
Source: The NPD Group/Weekly Tracking Service

PCs and flash-based camcorders were the must-haves this holiday leading the way in unit growth among large categories, but, as always, total sales numbers were dependent on the success of PCs and flat-panel TVs. Together they accounted for 41 percent of revenue over the five week holiday period, up from 39 percent in 2008 and 34 percent in 2007.  Despite the high revenue,flat-panel TVs registered a decline in dollars of 13 percent, in line with their performance during most of 2009.  That decline pulled down the industry overall. MP3 players, for the third year in a row, were the largest unit volume category despite increased ASPs and declining unit volumes.

Key Consumer Technology Category Performance Holiday 2009 vs. Holiday 2008
  Unit
Percent Change
Dollar
Percent Change
Average
Selling Price
Average Selling Price
Percent Change
Notebook PCs 68% 30% $528 -23%
Camcorders 40% 12% $182 -20%
Blu-ray DVD Players 44% -5% $151 -34%
Desktop PCs 28% 27% $643 -1%
Flat-Panel TVs 16% -12% $525 -25%
DSLR 13% 16% $698 2%
Wireless Network Devices 8% 11% $61 2%
Multi-function Printers -4% 7% $110 11%
Compact Cameras -5% -8% $128 -3%
MP3 Players -14% -6% $142 10%
Source: The NPD Group/Weekly Tracking Service

“Just cutting prices this year was not enough to guarantee successful sales results,” said Baker.  Flat-panel TVs had a disappointing holiday because there wasn’t enough price-cutting on the right items, while notebook PCs and camcorders offered new form factors and price points that drove enormous increases in units and revenue despite falling prices.”

*Consumer Technology sales include IT, imaging, audio, video, and consumables.  It excludes video game products and mobile phones.
**2009 holiday season includes sales from November 22-December 26, 2009.

***NPD’s weekly POS information is derived from a subset panel of retailers that also contribute to NPD’s projected monthly POS panel.

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Sarah Bogaty
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sarah.bogaty@npd.com

The NPD Group, Inc.
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