Online Consumer Technology Sales Increased 19 Percent in the First Three Quarters of 2017, Reports NPD's Checkout

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Direct-to-consumer sales saw the largest growth, increasing 34 percent, and representing 13 percent of all e-commerce sales

Smart home is a perfect example of how the improvement of retailers’ e-commerce capabilities, plus a burgeoning DTC segment can disrupt conventional notions about how consumers shop online.

According to NPD’s Checkout, a receipt mining service, online consumer technology sales were up 19 percent in the first nine months of 2017 versus the same time period a year prior. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales saw the largest growth, increasing 34 percent, and representing 13 percent of all e-commerce sales, a one point volume increase.

DTC sales are not new in the tech industry, with PC giants like Dell, Apple, and HP long focused on this opportunity, but recently, we’re seeing more DTC sales in high growth categories, like smart home. While smart home DTC sales represent a slightly smaller (nine percent) share of the overall market compared to the industry average, three of the top 10 e-commerce merchants of smart home devices were DTC, according to Checkout[1]. Online growth in smart home sales are not only resulting from the DTC channel. In fact, from January through September 2017, traditional home improvement merchants experienced the highest online sales growth in smart home, up nearly three times from the same time period in 2016.

“Disruption is the order of the day in consumer channels, including tech. Disruption is occurring across all markets and online business is no exception,” said Stephen Baker, vice president, industry advisor for The NPD Group. “Smart home is a perfect example of how the improvement of retailers’ e-commerce capabilities, plus a burgeoning DTC segment can disrupt conventional notions about how consumers shop online.”

To track these movements, NPD’s newly enhanced Checkout E-commerce service offers the most complete and accurate view of the online channel – including first and third-party sales for Amazon, Jet, and Walmart.com, 400+ e-commerce retailers including direct-to-consumer, and an early read on emerging players. Information is collected from more than three million consumers, through data provided by our partner Slice Intelligence and NPD’s own proprietary receipt-harvesting mobile phone app.

“Being able to see and understand online trends will be pivotal for retailers and manufacturers when developing e-commerce strategies moving forward,” said Ian Hamilton, President, Technology Sector, The NPD Group. “Checkout E-commerce measures unit volume and share, dollar volume and share, and average price, by retailer and brand, across industry and sub-category – creating a gold standard in e-commerce measurement. With this information clients can determine who is buying, what they are buying, and where they are buying to inform their e-commerce plans.”

[1]The NPD Group / Checkout, Jan. - Sept. 2016 vs. Jan. - Sept. 2017. Smart Home is defined as: home automation kits, power & sensors, security & monitoring, smart entry, smart lighting, system controllers, and home automation miscellaneous. Does not include streaming audio speakers.

About The NPD Group, Inc.
NPD is the leading global provider of market information and business solutions covering brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and emerging channels in more than 20 industries. We combine our unique data assets with analytic solutions to help our clients measure performance, predict trends, and improve results, advising them to help drive successful growth. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, consumer electronics, e-commerce, entertainment, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, juvenile products, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, technology, toys, travel retail, games, and watches / jewelry. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup and @npdtech.

Checkout delivers the most comprehensive view of consumer purchase behavior for general merchandise categories, across all retailers over time, to help you understand how to adjust your marketing to fuel growth. Checkout E-commerce offers the most complete and accurate view of the online channel – including first and third-party sales for Amazon and other marketplaces, 400+ e-commerce retailers including direct-to-consumer, and an early read on emerging players. Information is collected from more than 3 million consumers, through data provided by our partner Slice Intelligence and NPD’s own proprietary receipt-harvesting mobile phone app.

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Megan Scott
The NPD Group
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