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Apple accounts for 20% of all US consumer electronics cash

Smartphones and tablets the only growth markets

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The latest research data on US consumer electronics spending from analyst house NPD shows that Apple has a commanding market position, taking 19.9 per cent of all sales in 2012.

The top five companies by spending last year were Apple, Samsung, HP, Sony, and Dell, but of those only Apple and Samsung actually saw their market share rising; the Korean manufacturer's share grew from 7 per cent in 2011 to 9.3 per cent last year. The duo saw sales increase $6.5bn in 2012, while revenues in the rest of the industry fell by $9.5bn.

"While CE remains a dynamic industry the fact is that the stellar growth of the past few years has made growth today more difficult," said Stephen Baker, VP of industry analysis at NPD, in a statement.

"Most market segments have high penetration rates and the demand for additional devices is slowing, or declining. Tablets and smartphones have been able to stimulate demand for additional devices, but unfortunately it hasn't been enough, yet, to sustain positive growth trends."

Since tablets and smartphones are Apple's hottest items at the moment that's good news for Cupertino, and to a lesser extent for Samsung as it's also heavily invested in both markets. But for players in more established fields such as laptops and desktops, the data makes for grim reading, since it shows how far tablets in particular are cannibalizing sales.

Overall consumer electronics sales fell two per cent in 2012, double the rate of decline in 2011. According to the NPD, the sector has had only one quarter of growth in the last two years, but since that came at the end of 2012, things might be looking up.

"After struggles with declining categories, and increasingly saturated markets over the last few years, fourth quarter's results may be the first sign that even as a mature industry consumer technology can grow again, albeit with a very different dynamic than in previous growth spurts," concluded Baker. ®

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