Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

There Better Be Some Cool Stuff at CES, Because CE Holiday Sales Data Bytes!

Just as the annual Consumer Electronics Show kicks off this week, according to a report from the NPD Group: Consumer electronics sales during this past holiday period dropped six percent from last year.

That should be some not-so-welcome news for the vendors at the Las Vegas gadget confab, which is seeking to show off new wares to excite said consumers.

Those offerings had better step it up, from a look at the NPD Weekly Tracking Service, which noted that the decline was coming off another decline from a year ago.

While 2011′s drop was not as bad as 2010′s, it’s not the right direction, although the tally did not include some of the more explosive device categories being prominently featured at CES, such as tablets.

Said NPD: “Total consumer technology sales (excluding cell phones, tablets, e-readers, and video games) fell 5.9 percent to around $9.5 billion for the 5 weeks ending December 24, a slight improvement over the 6.2 percent decline in 2010.”

Sales of personal computers and televisions fell 4 percent, with flat unit volumes.

“2010 was the first year in quite awhile where the real drags on the core CE marketplace were not TVs and PCs,” said Stephen Baker, VP of industry analysis at NPD, in a press release. “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.”

Consumers did snap up flat-panel TVs, with screen sizes of 50 inches and higher rising by 32 percent in unit sales.

And the rocky 3-D TV business also grew by more than 100 percent, with TVs with “3D capability accounting for more than one in every five dollars spent on TVs during the holiday.”

Also up: Home theater systems (10 percent) and stand-alone streaming devices (65 percent).

But those increases did not stem the overall negative tide.

For other sectors, here’s the damage to holiday revenue in percentage change from 2011 dollars spent:

Blu-ray players: Down 17 percent.

Camcorders: Down 42.5 percent.

Digital picture frames: Down 37.5 percent.

GPS: Down 32.6 percent.

HDD: Down 25.1 percent.

Mice and keyboards: Down 7.1 percent.

MP3 players: Down 20.5 percent.

Multifunction printers: Down 9.9 percent.

Point-and-shoot cameras: Down 20.8 percent.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald