NPD: $144 Billion in U.S. Consumer Electronics for 2011

A new NPD study says that the CE industry is alive and doing pretty well.


We’re heard a few CE companies crying about losses lately. However, the industry as a whole doesn’t seem to be doing so bad. According to a new study by The NPD Group, U.S. consumer technology hardware and consumable sales fell jus one half of a percent last year, raking in almost $144 billion.

About 60 percent of that revenue was from PC sales, TVs, tablets and e-readers, smartphones and video games, says NPD’s Retail and Consumer tracking services and Mobile Phone Track.

The PC category, which includes both notebooks and desktops, took in $28 billion in sales. That’s enough to claim the top spot, even though the numbers were down 3 percent from 2010. Tablets and e-readers, on the other hand, doubled sales, for a total of $15 billion.

Apple came out on top, as the leading consumer electronics brand for the second year in a row. They were also the only company in the top five to actually see an increase in sales, posting a 36 percent increase over 2010. NPD says that by the fourth quarter, Apple actually accounted for 19 percent of all CE sales dollars.

Despite the Christmas fiasco, Best Buy was the top retailer, followed by Walmart and Apple. Staples and Amazon rounded out the top five with a tie.

Where people shopped also shifted a bit, with sales through online, direct mail, and TV shopping channels jumping 7 percent and accounting for 24 percent of all sales. This is up 2 percent over 2010.

“While in-store sales fell about 2.5 percent in 2011, the growth in online volumes for retailers meant that retail name plates still accounted for well over four of every five dollars spent on CE hardware in the U.S.,” said Stephen Baker, NPD’s VP of industry analysis. “Despite their sales strength, retail stores still face serious challenges in 2012 as volumes in the traditional CE categories, which once carried these stores, continue to slide. It shouldn’t be forgotten, however, that a large majority of mobile phones and tablets/e-readers (the two fastest growing CE categories) have mostly been driven through in-store experiences.”


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