NPD: U.S. Holiday Electronics Sales Fall 5.9%

By Peter Svensson

LAS VEGAS -- U.S. sales of consumer electronics fell 5.9% this past holiday season, as smartphones cannibalize sales of standalone gadgets like cameras, camcorders and GPS navigation devices.

The NPD Group reported Sunday that electronics sales, including TVs and PCs, totaled $9.5 billion in the five weeks ending Dec. 24.

Camcorder sales plunged 43%, and sales of digital picture frames fell 38%. GPS units slumped 33%. PC and TV sales slipped just 4%, bolstered by sales of TVs bigger than 50 inches.

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Cell phone sales are not included in the report.

The figures were released 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, and jibe with some retail numbers released last week.

Best Buy Co. ( BBY), 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% for the month. However, sales were strong for smart phones, tablet computers and e-readers.

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