The NPD Group: U.S. Consumer Electronics Holiday Sales Revenue Drops 6 Percent From 2010

PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, JANUARY 8, 2012 – What began as a difficult year in the consumer electronics business ended the same way, according to leading market research company The NPD Group’s Weekly Tracking Service*. Total consumer technology sales (excluding cell phones, tablets, e-readers, and video games) fell 5.9 percent to around $9.5 billion for the 5 weeks ending December 24**, a slight improvement over the 6.2 percent decline in 2010.

Despite the gloom over the PC and TV marketplaces, sales for those two core categories dipped just 4 percent in dollars over 2010, and unit volumes were essentially flat on a year-over-year basis.

“2011 was the first year in quite awhile where the real drags on the core CE marketplace were not TVs and PCs,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD. “Revenue for those two segments outperformed while the rest of the market dropped by more than 7 percent. The accelerated rate of decline in older technology categories such as DVD, GPS and MP3 players put a ceiling on how well the industry could perform during the holiday.”

Desktop PCs posted a 2 percent unit volume increase but it wasn’t enough to offset the 5 percent decline in notebook sales which brought overall PC sales down 4 percent. ASPs jumped $9 year-over-year to $575 continuing last year’s trend of increasing holiday pricing levels. Windows-based all-in-one (AIO) PCs increased 135 percent and accounted for almost 20 percent of all Windows desktop unit sales volume.  

Big screen TVs gave a big boost to the flat-panel TV market, thanks to unit sales of TVs with screen sizes 50 inches and higher increasing by 32 percent. Approximately one-in-six flat-panel TVs sold were above 50 inches and the share of flat-panel TVs greater than 60 inches more than tripled.  Meanwhile 32 inch TVs, the market’s largest single size segment, saw revenue drop almost 9 percent and average prices fall below $300, to $277.  3D TVs, the industry’s most maligned segment, saw unit volumes soar by more than 100 percent and TVs with 3D capability accounted for more than one in every five dollars spent on TVs during the holiday.

Under the TV devices was another bright spot for the industry.  Sales revenue for home theater systems increased 10 percent, receiver revenue increased by 3.5 percent and stand-alone streaming devices saw a 65 percent increase in revenue while stand-alone speaker systems for portable devices saw revenue increase almost 10 percent. 

“It was truly a mixed bag this year,” said Baker. “Many newer technologies posted strong gains, although most of those products, such as streaming devices, still generate volumes too small to impact the overall market trend. These newer technologies are likely to be the ones to watch in 2012 as the industry continues to search for high growth opportunities to replace aging product segments.”



2010 Dollar Percent Change

2011 Dollar Percent Change

Blu-ray Players






Digital Picture Frames









Mice and Keyboards



MP3 Players



Multi-function Printers



Point and Shoot Cameras



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

**Holiday sales include sales from November 20 – December 24, 2011

Press Contact

David Riley

The NPD Group, Inc.
900 West Shore Road
Port Washington, NY 11050

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