updated 05:15 pm EST, Wed February 10, 2010
Figure includes online sales
Apple ranked a solid fifth amongst US electronics retailers during 2009, figures from the NPD Group show. Judging by physical store revenue, Apple found itself behind Best Buy, Walmart, Staples and Target. The company was also fifth in terms of online-only numbers, dominated by Dell, Amazon, Best Buy and HP. This marks a slight slide from 2008, when Apple placed fourth in online sales.
The NPD data notably excludes software and cellphone sales, which might have pushed Apple higher in light of Mac OS X Snow Leopard and the iPhone. The ranking nevertheless marks Apple as a major player, and still distinct in the brick-and-mortar top five as the only one to focus on first-party products. Such practice is standard in the online world.
Apple bucked trends by showing continued growth during 2009. Overall US electronics retail dropped by nearly 5 percent during the year, down to $106 billion. The results are attributed to lower prices meant to stave off the effects of recession, rather than diminished units. Sales in fact grew as the year advanced, to the point that Q4 numbers were down just 1.5 percent year-over-year.
"The industry lost ground this year but in light of the overall economic conditions it was a performance that could have been much worse," says Stephen Baker, VP of industry analysis for NPD. "Categories like computers and flat-panel TVs, despite very high selling prices, were able to see significant increases in unit volume through this [pricing] tactic. The up-tick in fourth quarter results, while partly the result of a weak year-over-year comparison was also due to strong results from these categories, results that point to increased momentum as we head into 2010."