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NPD: Consumer Spending on CE Dropped After Black Friday, Cyber Monday

4 Jan, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel


Nearly half of all consumer spending on electronics during the winter holidays occurred in the first two weeks around Black Friday (Nov. 23) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 26) — the highest share in the past four years, according to new data from The NPD Group.

With 46% of CE sales taking place in the first two weeks, the last three weeks (through Dec. 22) of sales accounted for 54% of holiday sales, according to NPD. Overall sales declined 7% with consumers spending $13.7 billion dollars. Sales for the first two weeks declined 3.7% compared with the same period in 2011, while the last three weeks fell more than 11% year-over-year.

“For the third consecutive year sales trends worsened in the later part of the holiday season,” said Stephen Baker, VP of industry analysis at NPD. “The hyped-up promotion of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and now Thanksgiving Day has proven remarkably effective in moving sales into the early part of the holiday season. Trends like online shopping and self-gifting have intensified the focus on the more event-driven early part of the holiday season.”

While most CE categories struggled, as they have done all year, sales of notebook computers and flat-panel TVs topped $2 billion, while no other single segment accounted for more than $1 billion in revenue.

Overall flat-panel units declined slightly by 1.5% and average selling prices dropped more than 8% to a record-low $364. Large-screen TVs continued their impressive growth and helped drive the category, but much of it at the expense of the once dominant 40- to 49-inch segment. 

Flat-panel displays, 50 inches and larger, experienced 46% unit growth and 19% revenue growth, while 40- to 49-inch flat-panel TVs dropped 36% in revenue and 29% in units. Strong demand for 32-inch and 39-inch displays drove volume for the smaller-than-40-inch segment, which accounted for 64% of all units sold. Sales of TVs smaller than 30 inches, however, declined 24%.

Despite the hype, and hope, around the launch of Windows 8, the new operating system did little to boost holiday sales or improve the yearlong Windows notebook sales decline. Windows notebook holiday unit sales dropped 11%, on par with Black Friday, and similar to the yearly trend, but revenue trends weakened since Black Friday to end the holiday period down 10.5%. 

Average sales prices increased $2 to $420. Touchscreen notebooks were 4.5% of Windows 8 sales with ASPs about $700. Sales of Windows notebooks less than $500 fell by 16%, while notebooks priced more than $500 increased 4%. Macbook sales dropped 6%, while the ASPs increased almost $100 to $1,419.

“Consumer electronics remain trapped in a weak product cycle,” Baker said. “Despite undeniable success in segments like soundbars, headphones with microphones, interchangeable lens cameras, cellular accessories and tablets, the inability of the CE market to find substantial new pockets of revenue looms menacingly over the industry’s future.”

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