Vinyl turns tables as decks outsell CD players; 3D makes a slow start; receivers rule - 2010 UK CE sales revealed

Heavy snow, horror shootings, football upsets, new governments and gushing oil - 2010's been pretty eventful so far, but what consumer electronics products have we been tuning into - or tuning out of - the news with? The CE sales statistics are in, and there are some real surprises...

We've had an interim update from GfK - we've previously reported on their full-year detailed figures - the stats masters who analyse all the sales data from retailers (on- and offline), tracking which prices and products are getting the tills ringing.

World Cup effect

A loud blast on a vuvuzela, please, for TV sales during May and June, given an incredible football boost. After a pretty slow start to the year - the CE market declined 4.7% in value terms from January-May - that swung round to to a 19% increase over 2009 sales by June, thanks to a mighty 31% more money being spent on TVs.

In one pre-World Cup week, there was an incredible 281% increase in 37in+ LCD TVs being sold. Both plasma and LCD sales are up for the year to date, with larger, more premium sets hitting new levels of popularity.

It's estimated that more than 10 million flatscreen TVs will be sold in the UK this year, with a further big rise in sales expected pre-Christmas.

A slow start for 3D

But, how many of those new flatscreens will be 3D TVs? Admittedly, it's very early days for the technology, with products only just arriving in the shops. However, in that pre-World Cup flatscreen frenzy, a mere 4000 3D sets were sold in May, along with 2000 3D Blu-ray players (we assume/hope the other half of 3D TV buyers have a PS3 or Sky 3D....)

Another recent TV technology development - internet connectivity - is growing faster, helped by its inclusion on this year's more affordable ranges.

Almost a quarter of flatscreens sold in May offered Ethernet connectivity, with almost 60% of Blu-ray players sold being Web-ready (those other 40% are going to have fun with some of those BD-Live heavy discs).

All I have to do is stream

While we're talking online, there's been a three-fold year-on-year growth in what GfK dubs 'Media Gateways' - devices to stream video and audio from your PC to TV. Almost 45,000 units have been sold at an average price of £83.

The market for client/server/streaming audio devices, meanwhile - such as Sonos or Logitech Squeezebox systems, but also higher-end solutions such as the Naim HDX or Meridian Sooloos - has also soared £5m in value (to £22m), with almost 22,000 units sold.

More than 2000 of those music servers sold cost £1000+; around 7000 of them were sold at £500-£1000; the remaining 13,000 were sold at sub-£500 price.

Incidentally, sales of wireless routers have soared 27.3% in the past year, with almost 50,000 units sold at an average price of £140. And that figure, of course, doesn't include the many more free routers supplied by broadband providers.

An even bigger, £40m market is for mobile broadband - Britain has gone dongle crazy, with 2.6m units sold since last year.

Finally, internet radios are also on rise, with a 50% year-on-year increase in sales, to 121,000 units (hybrid DAB/internet designs being the biggest winners; DAB-only radios have also had a big boost).

Docks clock up sales

Staying in the digital domain, anything you plug an iPod or iPhone into has never been more popular.

Headphone sales are up 37.5%, clock radios with docks up 38.1% and other portable-media player accessories are up 7.2%.

iPod speaker systems - such as the B&W Zeppelin - meanwhile are now a £40m business, up from £26.9m. 158.000 units were sold year to May 2010, compared to 107,000 units the previous year. Do the maths and you'll see the average price is on the rise, too.

Interestingly, sales of portable media players themselves are down more than 10%, as the rise of music and video-toting smartphones like the Apple iPhone continues.

Blu-ray begins to take hold

Moving onto home cinema, Blu-ray sales have shown a healthy rise - 672,000 Blu-ray players were sold in the year to May 2010, up from 394,000.

BD deals and discounts have undoubtedly fuelled that growth, with the average price of a Blu-ray player falling from £197 to £161.

However, the relative dearth of one-box Blu-ray systems has seen a 7.2% fall in cinema system sales. (Audio system sales, meanwhile, have fallen by 2.4%

Rise of the Receivers

The star performer in home cinema separates is AV amplifiers and receivers. Sales rose to 102,000 units (up 12%); market value increased to £47.5m (up 17%) and the average price paid edged up 5% to £466.

A mighty 30% of receivers sold in the past 12 months cost their new owners more than £1000.

After a few periods of decline, speakers and speaker package sales have also increased, with almost 400,000 units sold. It's a £95m market, with the average price paid at £239.

Turntables trump CD

And now we turn to our headline fact - that 77,400 turntables were sold in the year to May (a 11% increase). That compares to 41,400 CD players.

However, the CD player market remains more lucrative - the average price has risen 31% to £386 (with a 57% rise in sales for £1000+ players), while the average selling price of a turntable has fallen 10% to ust £122. That shows the real popularity area: budget and USB decks.

Wire me some money

Finally, a little look at cable sales. While HDMI cable continue their rise - with 1.4m sold in the year to May; average price £27 - sales of older AV formats continue strongly. A mighty 970,000 Scart sales were also sold, at an average of £8 per pop.

More stats - including any we can get for the likes of DACs and active speakers - to follow after an even bigger data-splurge next month.