This happened for the first time in May 2003 according to recently released sales results from The NPD Group’s point-of-sale tracking service.

According to recently released sales results from The NPD Group’s point-of-sale tracking service, May 2003 marked the first time that the dollar sales of notebook computers sold surpassed the dollar sales of desktop computers in U.S. retailers. Additionally, May marked the first month ever that LCD monitors generated more unit sales volume than standard tube-based CRTs. These two milestones occurred as May retail computer product sales posted their best year-over-year sales results in nearly four years, jumping 13.6 percent over May 2002.

“It is fitting that these milestones should occur together as they are both important components in the increased movement of the PC out of the home office and into everyday use,” said Stephen Baker, director of industry analysis for The NPD Group. “Key to the increased sales, for these and other rapidly evolving product categories, are a desire for computing products that offer portability, appealing form factors and attractive design. These two product segments are at the cutting edge of this change with other products like photo printing, wireless networking, entertainment PCs and multi-function printing devices rapidly redrawing their categories and orienting them towards this new vision of home computing.”

Notebook computers sales volumes have been closing the sales gap on the desktop over the past four years. In January 2000, notebooks represented less than 25 percent of sales volume. In May 2003, notebooks were over 54 percent of the nearly $500 million dollar in retail computer sales. Unit volumes also set a record as notebooks accounted for more than 40 percent of sales.

“May results were driven by consumers’ desire for mobility, combined with aggressive pricing and robust configurations,” said Baker. “Selling prices fell below $1300 for the first time ever, more than $250 below May 2002 even while 80 percent of notebooks sported 15 inch screens and 86 percent provided customers with a CD burner.”

LCD sales volumes have been steadily rising since flat panel screens became affordable for consumers approximately two years ago. Flat panel monitors accounted for 52 percent of unit sales in May and more than 70 percent of sales dollars. These numbers are in stark contrast to May 2002 when unit volumes was only 22 percent of total monitor sales and revenue for LCDs was only 40 percent of the total.

“LCDs slim profile and sleek looks are more appealing and more ‘home electronics’ looking than the bulky CRTs traditionally sold with PCs,” Baker added. “Consumers are willing to spend to access the technology since, despite the aggressive pricing in the LCD category the average LCD price of $467 is more than $250 above the average selling price of a CRT.”

About The NPD Group, Inc.
Since 1967 The NPD Group has provided reliable and comprehensive sales and marketing information for a wide range of industries. NPD provides critical knowledge on what is selling, where, to whom and why to help our clients make more successful, fact-based business decisions. Today more than 1,300 manufacturers and retailers rely on NPD to help them better understand their customers, product categories, distribution channels and competition in order to help guide their business and positively impact sales and revenues. Information from The NPD Group is available for the following major vertical sectors: apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, cellular, consumer electronics, food and beverage, foodservice, footwear, home improvement, housewares, imaging, information technology, music, software, travel, toys and video games. For more information visit www.npd.com.