LAS VEGAS — A research firm says U.S. sales of consumer electronics fell 5.9 percent this past holiday season, as smartphones cannibalize sales of standalone gadgets like cameras, camcorders and GPS navigation devices.
The NPD Group says electronics sales, including TVs and PCs, totaled $9.5 billion in the five weeks ending Dec. 24.
Camcorder sales plunged 43 percent, and sales of digital picture frames fell 38 percent. GPS units slumped 33 percent. PC and TV sales slipped just 4 percent, bolstered by sales of TVs bigger than 50 inches.
"2011 was the first year in quite awhile where the real drags on the core (consumer electronics) marketplace were not TVs and PCs,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD.
“Revenue for those two segments outperformed while the rest of the market dropped by more than 7 percent. The accelerated rate of decline in older technology categories such as DVD, GPS and MP3 players put a ceiling on how well the industry could perform during the holiday.”
NPD's figures did not include tablet sales, perhaps one of the hotter products in 2011, or cellphones.
The research firm said sales revenue for home theater systems increased 10 percent, receiver revenue increased by 3.5 percent and stand-alone streaming devices saw a 65 percent increase in revenue while stand-alone speaker systems for portable devices saw revenue increase almost 10 percent.
Best Buy, the largest U.S. electronics retailer, said Friday that December sales lagged because of weak traffic. Sales at stores open a year fell 1.2 percent for the month. However, sales were strong for smartphones, tablet computers and e-readers
The NPD figures were released Sunday as the consumer electronics industry gathered in Las Vegas for its annual trade show, the largest in the Americas and one of the largest in the world.
Msnbc.com also contributed to this report.
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