Holiday Consumer-Electronics Sales Fell 5%


U.S. consumers spent 5% less on consumer electronics during the last holiday season compared to a year earlier, research firm NPD Group announced Wednesday. For the nine weeks leading up to Christmas Day, U.S. shoppers spent $14.9 billion on electronics, according to the group's report.

Americans bought fewer flat-screen televisions and desktop computers, as well as lower-end digital cameras and MP3 players, the NPD says.

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"Record sales in 2009 across major categories such as notebook PCs and TVs, combined with a significant slowdown in the pace of price declines created a difficult headwind for the industry in 2010," Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, said in a statement. "Tech consumers ignored early season promotions, and instead keyed in on the traditionally price-aggressive deals offered during Black Friday and the week before Christmas."

The report did include at least one silver lining: Spending on products such as smartphones and tablet computers surged as consumers gravitated toward portable devices.

Still, the portable-electronics growth was more than offset by a 16% drop in the number of desktop computer sold. Revenue for flat-screen TVs also fell, leading retailers to cut prices on liquid-crystal display and plasma TVs to move more of them, according to NPD.

This dip in consumer-electronics spending came as overall U.S. holiday spending rose about 4% from a year earlier, according to the National Retail Federation.