Apple takes 1 in every 5 dollars spent on U.S. consumer electronics

U.S. consumer technology hardware and consumable sales* fell just one half of a percent in 2011 ending the year at nearly $144 billion, according to leading market research company The NPD Group.

Nearly 60 percent of all sales in 2011 were driven by the top five categories; PCs, TVs, tablets/e-readers, mobile phones, and video game hardware, according to NPD’s Retail and Consumer tracking services and Mobile Phone Track. PCs (notebooks and desktops) generated the most revenue with nearly $28 billion in sales, accounting for almost 20 percent of sales, but that figure was a decline of 3 percent from 2010. Tablets/e-readers were the clear winner in 2011, nearly doubling sales to $15 billion in 2011.

Top 5 Categories Share of Total Revenue, 2010-2011
NPD Top 5 Categories Share of Total Revenue, 2010-2011
Source: The NPD Group/Consumer Tracking Service, Retail Tracking Service, and Mobile Phone Track

“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 percent in 2011 as consumers shifted spending from older technologies to a narrow range of products.”

Apple benefited from this shift as it 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 percent rise over 2010. By the critical fourth quarter Apple accounted for 19 percent of all sales dollars, almost twice as much as number two Hewlett-Packard.

Top 5 U.S. Brands Based on 2011 Revenue
NPD: Top 5 U.S. Brands Based on 2011 Revenue
Source: The NPD Group/Consumer Tracking Service, Retail Tracking Service, and Mobile Phone Track

At the retailer level, Best Buy came out on top once again, followed by Walmart and Apple. Staples and Amazon tied for fourth place to round out the top five, a repeat of 2010.

Sales through online, direct mail, and TV shopping channels jumped 7 percent and accounted for 24 percent of all sales, up from 22 percent in 2010. Sales through these non-retail channels captured 25 percent of industry revenue in the fourth quarter of 2011.

“While in-store sales fell about 2.5 percent in 2011, the growth in online volumes for retailers meant that retail name plates still accounted for well over four of every five dollars spent on CE hardware in the US,” said Baker. “Despite their sales strength, retail stores still face serious challenges in 2012 as volumes in the traditional CE categories, which once carried these stores, continue to slide. It shouldn’t be forgotten, however, that a large majority of mobile phones and tablets/e-readers (the two fastest growing CE categories) have mostly been driven through in-store experiences.”

*U.S. Consumer Technology sales include CE hardware and consumables from NPD’s Consumer Tracking Service, mobile phones from NPD’s Mobile Phone Track, and video game hardware sales from NPD’s Retail Tracking Service.

Source: The NPD Group

MacDailyNews Take: Bloodbath.


  1. On FOX Business, just a moment ago, there was an analyst suggesting that a viable investment strategy is shorting everyone that competes against Apple. Heh.

  2. This means nothing. Since the institutional and hedge fund managers say that Apple has no future growth potential you should sell Apple right now and get into some other real growth stock. They never usually tell you which one to get into for some reason, but the main point is always selling Apple before it goes down with a bang.

    What’s amazing is they say the same thing every quarter and they fail to see they are likely wrong. I’m guessing that most brokers would never recommend Apple as an investment which is somehow sad for clients.

    1. Well, this is “1 in every 5 dollars spent on U.S. consumer electronics,” not 1 in every 5 dollars spent period. 😉

      So it does not include money spent on food, rent, taxes, loan payments, auto expenses, utility payments, Internet connection, etc. Unfortunately, after paying all the necessary expenses these days, what’s left over to spend on Apple stuff is often “chump change.”

  3. This is even more significant because Apple is getting those dollars while selling almost all the products at full retail price. Apple is not holding “two-for-one” (or other) sales to clear out inventory and generate profitless revenue.

    Apple’s TV is up next, to get even more of those “consumer electronics” dollars…

  4. This is 1/5 of revenues, profits are likely way better than that. If Apple has a profit margin of 40% and it’s competitors have 10% or less, we’re looking at a little over 50% profit share, and it gets better if their competitors dip below 10% or Apple exceeds 40%.

  5. It sure is rough being on the AAPL $hit list!

    All the losers on that short list have stabbed Apple in the back before.

    Sony: it couldn’t happen to a bigger bunch of ass-hats.

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