In what can’t exactly be hailed as a surprise, NPD Group recently released a report crowning Apple as the leading consumer electronics brand for the second year in a row.

While consumer electronics spending was almost $144 billion in 2011, a small 0.5 percent drop from 2010, nearly 60 percent of spending was concentrated in five categories: PCs, TVs, tablets and e-readers, mobile phones and video game hardware. Of those categories, sales of tablets and e-readers doubled to almost $15 billion in 2011, thanks in large to the iPad.

PCs are still king of the electronics kingdom, accounting for almost 20 percent of sales, even with a 3 percent drop from 2010.

Concentrated spending in the top five categories was a massive benefit to Apple. Among the top five consumer electronic brands, only Apple saw a sales increase in 2011 – a strong 36 percent rise from 2010. Number two Hewlett Packard had a 3 percent sales decline while Sony stomached a 21 percent drop.

The report also noted that by the holiday fourth quarter, Apple accounted for 19 percent of all sales dollars from consumers purchasing electronics, almost twice as much as HP.

On the retail side, Apple did almost as well, coming in third behind Best Buy and Wal-Mart. Staples and Amazon tied for fourth place.

But things should continue to favor Apple in the retail space as well. Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis for NPD, said that while in-store sales fell 2.5 percent in 2011, a large majority of the two fastest growing segments – mobile phones, tablets and e-readers – have been driven through in-store shopping.

And Wall Street has also taken notice of Apple’s dominance, sending shares of the company over the $500 mark yesterday. Do you think Apple can top a stellar 2011 this year?