(By Balachander) U.S. consumer electronics sales dropped 7 percent in the holiday season of 2012 with trends worsening in the later part of the period for the third straight year, according to information company the NPD Group.
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, the firm said.
In the five week holiday period from November 18 to December 22, NPD said consumers spent $13.7 billion.
Sales for the first two weeks fell 3.7 percent over 2011 while the last three weeks declined more than 11 percent. Consumer electronics excludes: Amazon Kindle products, iPad, Surface, mobile phones, and video games.
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"Trends like online shopping and self-gifting have intensified the focus on the more event -driven early part of the holiday season," NPD said.
No other single segment accounted for over $1 billion in revenue, though sales of notebook computers and flat-panel TVs both exceeded $2 billion, NPD said.
Overall flat-panel units decreased slightly by 1.5 percent and average selling prices (ASP) fell more than 8 percent to a record-low $364.
Windows 8, the new operating system, did little to boost holiday sales or improve the year-long Windows notebook sales decline, NPD said.
The firm added that Windows notebook holiday unit sales declined 11 percent, 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 percent.
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"Consumer electronics remain trapped in a weak product cycle," said Stephen Baker, vice president, industry analysis at NPD. "Despite undeniable success in segments like soundbars, headphones with microphones...and tablets, the inability of the CE market to find substantial new pockets of revenue looms menacingly over the industry's future."