Oct 24, 2008 (12:10 PM EDT)
U.S. Consumer Tech Sales Down In September

Read the Original Article at InformationWeek

U.S. consumer technology sales at retail stores fell slightly in September, but not to the extent feared by some industry watchers, a market research group said.

Sales dropped 2% last month, compared with the same period a year ago, which was also a weak month, NPD Group reported. In September 2007, sales fell 1% from the same month the year before.

Nevertheless, last month's decline indicated some weakening from the back-to-school-driven 2% increase in August, NPD said. "The industry struggled a little this month. It's to be expected when the economy is slowing, but the consumers who can spend will continue to," NPD analyst Stephen Baker said in a statement released Thursday.

Categories still attracting consumer dollars include flat-panel TVs, which saw unit sales up 20% in September from a year ago, NPD said. Unit sales of flat panels larger than 40 inches, which are the more expensive sets, increased by almost 30% and the amount of money taken in by retailers rose by 10%.

Notebook computers saw a 9% increase in revenue on unit growth of slightly more than 12%. Those numbers were down only slightly from August's 10% revenue increase and 15% unit gain.

"These key categories are continuing to perform, and tellingly, these growth segments are delivering faster unit growth than dollar growth while still maintaining average selling prices of $800 to $900," Baker said. "Growth is slowing, but in a year with few new products to drive excitement these high-priced staples of the technology industry continue to be in demand."

NPD tracks sales at retail stores only. The numbers do not include online sales.