The holiday-shopping season certainly could have been worse for the consumer electronics industry.
Sales over the five-week holiday-shopping season chimed in at $10.8 billion, a decline of less than 1 percent from 2008 when sales dropped 6 percent from the previous season, according to new figures from NPD Group.
"The dynamics of the holiday season changed this year," Stephen Baker, NPD's vice president of industry analysis, said Friday in a statement. "The holiday season started before Black Friday as retailers ran Black Friday-like sales throughout November. That move may have lessened the Black Friday hype for consumers, but [a revenue] increase during the final week of the season is a sign that consumers either went back out or waited it out to get the best deal."
Among specific products, laptops and low-cost flash-based camcorders showed the most improvement in unit sales and revenue over 2008. But overall results for the consumer electronics industry were hurt by a 12 percent year-over-year drop in revenue for flat-panel TVs--which, together with desktop PCs, accounted for 41 percent of holiday revenue.
Year-over-year holiday sales fell for MP3 players, NPD said, but the devices were still the No. 1 seller in terms of unit volume.
"Flat-panel TVs had a disappointing holiday because there wasn't enough price-cutting on the right items," Baker said, "while notebook PCs and camcorders offered new form factors and price points that drove enormous increases in units and revenue despite falling prices."