iPad draws sales from Best Buy

16 December 2010

RICHFIELD, Minnesota: Electronics retailer Best Buy has reported a 5% drop in quarterly sales, as the iPad-fuelled tablet PC boom drew expenditure away from new TV technology such as 3D TV.

The sales drop occurred in the three months to the end of November. But Mike Vitelli, Best Buy's Americas president, said that the situation would reverse next year.

This year's launch of Apple's iPad, as well as tablet products from other electronics manufacturers, has seen some Best Buy customers switch to competitors, including Apple's own stores.

The new tablets had "taken mind share and wallet share" among "early adopters" who would otherwise have been expected to buy the new 3D and internet-connected televisions that were launched this year, Vitelli said.

"It's clear that the tablet concept is very hot in consumer minds. It has extracted a lot of 'early adopted' dollars right now."

But the situation would ease as more products came onstream to cater for the growing demand, he added.

Meanwhile, Best Buy ceo Brian Dunn said there had been a "significant increase in channels of distribution" for television sets, and added that "a number of sellers in those channels were more aggressive on opening price points for low-end products."

Jim Muehlbauer, Best Buy's chief financial officer, said the firm's strong performance in categories such as mobile phones indicated that consumers were feeling less constrained by broader economic concerns in the US.

"Consumers are out spending in those categories," he said.

Best Buy's results coincided with a US Commerce Department report indicating that overall retail sales for November increased by 0.8%.

Sales of electronics and appliances fell by 0.6% over the same period.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc staff