Tech Products Remain Hot Purchases

While PC sales may have been sluggish, and PC makers are seeing their stock prices hit hard, that doesn’t mean no one is buying technology products for the holidays. According to The NPD Group, some technology categories are seeing triple-digit growth in 2000.

According to NPD INTELECT® Market Tracking, the plasma flat-panel screen TV was the fastest growing product in the technology category. Although unit sales remain relatively low, purchasing shot up 263 percent from January to October 2000 compared to the same time period last year. And sales are increasing even as average price has increased to over $12,000.

“These products and others have shown dynamic growth, and everything suggests that the trend will continue,” said NPD INTELECT Director of Marketing George Meier. “Terms like digital and portable have become hot button words for this holiday season. If a product is digital or portable, it will likely hit consumers’ sweet spot. If a product is digital and portable, marketers could face difficulty in keeping up with consumer demand. Another magic word continues to be ‘Internet.’ Products that aid in storage and connectivity are likely strong performers.”

Non-PC devices that are able to access the Internet, namely personal digital assistants (PDAs) and cellular phones, also have shown sizeable sales gains in 2000. According to NPD, PDAs and Web-enabled cellular phones grew 164 percent and 62 percent, respectively, in unit sales.

While PCs aren’t selling well this season, consumers are focusing on PC peripherals. PC cameras and digital still cameras, recordable-rewritable CD drives, and network devices have all seen strong growth through the beginning of the holiday season.

According to the Media Metrix Online Shopping Index for the week ending Dec. 3, 2000, retail computer sites were seeing an increase in traffic as the holiday approached. Computers surpassed books to become the top retail subcategory for the week ending Dec. 3, with 2.3 million average daily unique visitors. Computers sites also represented three of the top five gainers for the week., and had week-over-week average daily unique visitor increases of 86.5, 75.4 and 63.8 percent, respectively.

“Despite recent fears about slowing PC sales, computer-retail sites are among the most popular online destinations this holiday season,” said Anne Rickert, measurement analyst, Media Metrix. “Many of these sites are offering holiday discounts on PCs, as well as other highly anticipated items such as software, digital cameras, handhelds and other computer accessories.”

The Media Metrix Online Shopping Index aggregates Web visitors from both home and work to nearly 400 retail sites and 18 retail subcategories.

Expected Big Sellers for Holiday 2000
Unit Sales by Category
Category Unit Sales Percent
Jan. to Oct. 1999 Jan. to Oct. 2000
Plasma Flat-Panel
TV Screens
1,119 4,060 263%
PC Cameras 425,034 1,369,740 222%
PDAs 425,034 2,084,779 164%
DVD Players 1,411,469 3,095,388 119%
Digital Still
1,094,096 2,315,958 112%
CD Drives
1,095,719 1,930,721 76%
Network Devices 898,575 1,498,543 67%
Direct Broadcast
1,335,548 2,206,687 65%
CD Recorders 96,170 155,347 62%
Cellular Phones 1,563,559 2,486,827 62%
Source: NPD INTELECT Market Tracking

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