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Market Research : U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales Robust in 2011, Reaching $144 Billion: NPD

Best Buy Was the #1 Retailer, Apple the #1 Brand

February 14, 2012
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Port Washington, NY—U.S. consumer technology hardware and consumable sales ended 2011 at nearly $144 billion, reports The NPD Group, which represents a decline of just one-half of a percent from 2010.

According to the market research firm, almost 60% of all CE sales in 2011 were driven by five categories: PCs, TVs, tablets/e-readers, mobile phones, and video game hardware. The figures were obtained from NPD’s Retail and Consumer tracking services and Mobile Phone Track.

PCs (notebooks and desktops) generated nearly 20% of total sales, at almost $28 billion. However, PC sales did see a decline of 3% from 2010. Tablets/e-readers were the top dogs last year, nearly doubling sales to $15 billion.

“U.S. hardware sales growth is becoming harder and harder to achieve at the broad industry level,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD. “Sales outside of the top five categories fell by 8% in 2011 as consumers shifted spending from older technologies to a narrow range of products.”

Brands that benefited from this shift were led by Apple, which was the leading consumer electronics brand for the second year in a row. Among the top five brands Apple was the only one to experience a sales increase, posting a 36% increase over the previous year. By the fourth quarter Apple accounted for 19% of all sales, almost twice as much as number two Hewlett-Packard.

As for CE retailers, Best Buy led the pack again in 2010, followed by Walmart and Apple. Staples and Amazon tied for fourth place to round out the top five, just as they did last year.

                               Top 5 U.S. Brands Based on 2011 Revenue
  Brand                                   Sales Growth/Decline                                   
  Apple                                   36%


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