08:24 PM

Flat-Panel TVs, Portable Music Players Rocked in 2005

It was a particularly big year for flat panel TVs and portable music players, a market research firm says.

People in the U.S. spent 8 percent more on consumer electronics, computers and other high-tech products last year, creating a particularly big year for flat panel TVs and portable music players, a market research firm said.

In a report scheduled for release Thursday, The NPD Group said consumers spent $76.9 billion last year, compared with $71.2 billion the year before.

For TVs and computers, lower prices and aggressive advertising were responsible for boosting sales.

"It was the one-two punch needed to get consumers in the stores," NPD analyst Stephen Baker said in a statement.

Unit sales of notebook and desktop computers were up 45 percent and 5 percent, respectively. Revenues for notebooks swelled 21 percent, but an 8 percent drop in average prices for desktops led to a 3 percent decline in overall revenues, the researcher said.

Unit sales of flat-panel LCD TVs grew 160 percent over 2004, while revenues rose 127 percent. Plasma TVs posted numbers of 128 percent and 70 percent, respectively.

Portable music players, or MP3 players, saw a 159 percent rise in unit sales and a 121 percent jump in revenues. Digital cameras were up 21 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

"New technologies at more affordable prices gave people a lot of incentive to get the necessities and a little something extra last year," Baker said. "It’s the beginning of a trend that we should see continue through 2006, which will benefit not only the consumer, but the manufacturers as well."

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