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Black Friday Technology Sales Results

Black Friday Consumer Technology Sales Post Double Digit Increase but Growth Slows, According to The NPD Group

Consumers were out in full force Black Friday to get the best deals possible, and sales trends indicated that they certainly did. According to leading consumer and retail information provider The NPD Group’s weekly point-of-sale (POS) data* for the week ending November 25, consumer technology retail sales** grew nearly 12 percent to over two billion dollars. While that’s a good showing for the start of the holiday season, and year-over-year dollar volume is growing, it’s doing so at a slower rate.

“There are a lot of factors which contributed to the sales slow down,” said Stephen Baker, vice president, industry analysis, The NPD Group. “Revenue was up, actual sales volume was up, but prices were falling faster in some of the larger categories than consumers were buying, so despite apparently healthy store traffic and product demand the average consumer’s purchase grew less robustly than last year. Consumers knew what they were looking for; they came, they saw, they conquered, and they went home with basically what was on their lists and not much else, said Baker.”

Year-over-Year Consumer Technology Sales

2003 2004 2005 2006
Sales $1.44 billion $1.62 billion $1.87 billion $2.09 billion
Growth 12.5% 15.4% 11.8%

LCD and plasma televisions, which were the most heavily promoted and the most sought after items, produced spectacular results. LCDs above 30 inches experienced 208.5 percent revenue growth and 297 percent unit growth. LCDs under 30 inches grew 26 percent in revenue and 86 percent in unit volume. Plasmas saw a 63 percent jump in revenue and a 140 percent increase in unit volume. With some retailers offering TVs for their morning specials at prices that would have been below cost just a few months ago, consumers had incentive to go get that “family” gift at a great price. The aggressive promotions on flat-panels continued to erode projection and tube TV sales and helped push flat-panel sales ahead of tube TV sales for the first time.

Television Unit Share and Average Price

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Unit Share Unit Share Average Price Average Price
2005 2006 2005 2006
LCD 26.3% 48.8% $599 $558
Projection 7.8% 7% $1,598 $1,291
Plasma 5.2% 10.1% $2,139 $1,451
Tube 46.4% 21% $189 $165
TV Combos 11.2% 13% $213 $167

While overall growth slowed, there were some categories which experienced continued growth and at better rates than 2005. Notebook computers are one example, with a nearly 35 percent revenue growth and nearly 64 percent unit growth over last year compared to the nearly 16 percent revenue and 41 percent unit growth seen in 2005. The average price of a notebook computer dropped from $852 in 2005 to $701 in 2006. Overall PC unit volume was up 31 percent this year versus 27 percent last year.

One area of the IT industry that saw a big jump in sales was storage. This trend has been accelerating all year and Black Friday sales gave it another big push forward. Flash memory sales increased about 30 percent in revenue and 76 percent in units. USB drives grew 55 percent in revenue and an astounding 93.5 percent in units. Hard drives were also an easy sell for Black Friday with a 33 percent increase in revenue and 58.5 percent increase in unit volume.

GPS navigation followed a path of success for Black Friday. Revenue was up 262 percent and unit sales experienced a 670 percent increase from 2005. The average price of a GPS system dropped dramatically from $684 in 2005 to $322 in 2006.

Digital cameras captured a good portion of Black Friday sales. Revenue increased over 13 percent and units were up 26 percent compared to 2005. The average price of a digital camera dropped to around $163 compared to the average $182 consumers spent in 2005.

MP3 players experienced a major slowdown, consistent with year-to-date sales, but still increased unit and dollar volumes over 2005. MP3 player revenue was up nearly 14 percent and units were up 26 percent. Average prices dropped from around $123 to $111.

“Overall sales results were heavily skewed towards the largest and fastest growing categories,” said Baker. “This year the top five revenue categories accounted for 45 percent of all sales, up from 35 percent in 2005 and experienced 46 percent growth. Without these categories 2006 Black Friday revenue would be down by six percent.”

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2006 Top 5 Revenue Producing Categories

Revenue Dollar Share
1. LCD TVs $275 million 13.2%
2. Notebook PCs $205 million 9.8%
3. Digital Cameras $182 million 8.7%
4. Plasma TVs $148 million 7.1%
5. MP3 Players $123 million 5.9%

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

**Consumer Technology sales include IT, imaging, audio, video, and consumables.

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