Japan Consumer Electronics Shipments Turn Negative

Consumer electronics shipments in Japan registered their first year-on-year fall in 17 months in October as consumers cut-back on gadget spending and stores ordered less stock.

Total domestic shipments were ¥2.2 trillion (US$23.3 billion) during the month, down 9.2 percent on October last year, according to data from the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA).

On a value base shipments of video products fell 8.7 percent, which was also the first time in 17 months the product sector registered a fall. Audio product shipments dropped 5.9 percent, making October the third month in a row of declining sales, and car electronics shipments were down 11.3 percent, the second monthly fall in a row.

Unit shipments of big-ticket items like large-screen televisions were mixed. A total of 612,000 LCD (liquid crystal display) TVs were shipped in the month, which is on-par with October 2007, but shipments of sets with 37-inch screens or above were up 4 percent partly as a result of falling prices. PDP (plasma display panel) TV shipments were slightly down at 90,000 units.

DVD player and recorder shipments fell but 167,000 Blu-ray Disc players and recorders were shipped, which is more than four times that in the same period last year. That's no real surprise as this time last year the high-def disc format war was still on and many consumers weren't buying.

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