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NPD: Consumer Technology Spending Exploding

May 4, 2020 By Finley Engineering in

The NPD Group’s finding that that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused accelerating increases in consumer technology spending is not surprising. It is interesting to note, however, that the market research firm found that spending has not been consistent even in the relatively short period since the crisis began.

NPD says that $1.8 billion was spent on consumer technology in the U.S. during the week ending on April 18. This represented a 23% year-over-year increase and a 29% week-over-week increase. This compares to an increase of 21% in sales during the week ending on March 21.

Consumer Technology Spending

The sales dynamic has changed. The NPD Group “saw broad-based increases across almost all categories, unlike in March, when the work-from-home categories dominated,” according to Stephen Baker, the firm’s senior vice president and industry advisor.

Spending on work-from-home technology continued to accelerate as the crisis continues. Spending was up 67%, an increase from the 53% from the prior week. Monitor makers enjoyed a unit increase of 73% a week after a previous increases of 55% — with no change in average selling price. Monitor sales have doubled to just under 1.3 million during the past five weeks. Mice and keyboard sales saw both unit sales and dollar increases above 20%.

The increases were similar in the PC category, the company said. Sales increased 53% during the week of April 18 after an increase of 31% during the week of April 11. Sales have increased 30% or more in each of the past five weeks. Chromebook sales more than doubled during each of those weeks.  Windows sales increased 36% last week and 45% over the last five weeks.

Televisions sales also are thriving, NPD found. Sales during the week of April 18 were more than 1.1 million units. This was the highest volume outside of the holiday season ever and an 86% increase over the previous week.

People want their entertainment:  Every size from 32 inches and up had double-digit growth, with 65 inch units up more than 139%. Thirty-two inch televisions, which declined by 15% during the first 10 weeks of 2020, increased by 40% over the past five weeks. 

The upward trends continued in smaller categories. Networking (an increase of 70%), headphones (29%), printers (61%), DIY components (111%), PC microphones (147%), range extenders (173%), streaming players (42%), TV mounts (41%), soundbars (69% increase in units) and DVD and Blu-Ray players (both up 27% in units).