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Appliances, Vacuums "Healthy" But Tech Down

By Oonagh Reidy | Thursday | 23/05/2013

Aussie tech market falls, but appliances enjoying moment in the sun.

Tech goods market fell 1.6% in Oz during Q1 compared to last year, according to the latest GfK Temax report. 

The value of consumer technology goods sold in Oz fell to $4.15 bn in the first quarter. 

The small appliance market was one of the only consumer technology sectors showing growth - rose almost 8% year-on-year, while others including IT, Telecommunications were all flat, early reports indicate.  

The latest market decline in 'technical consumer goods' (TCG) was the smallest contraction in over a year, good news for CE industry. The consumer tech market fell 5% in Q4 last.  

"With interest rates and unemployment figures remaining low and stable, consumer confidence was relatively strong in the first quarter," noted GfK Retail and Technology commercial director Gwenno Hopkin. 

"The CE sector shows signs of stabilizing, the IT and Telecom sectors now face the challenge of operating in a mature market environment." 

Small appliances including robo vacuums enjoyed double digital growth, while hot beverage machines, food appliances sectors were "healthy".  

In fact, vacuums cleaners alone accounted for a third of all revenues generated from Small Domestic Appliances category. 

"High-end and niche products drove the growth, with the popularity of robot, handstick and uprights pushing up the overall price of the segment."

All types of electric fans were up, which the report attributes to hot summer temperatures, pushing the category to even higher value and unit growth. 

"All types of fans, across all price points, experienced significant growth, as Australians sought respite from record-breaking temperatures," the report indicated. 

Food preparation segment like mixers and processors continued to deliver healthy growth so far in 2013, as did shavers.

Although hot beverage makers like coffee machines were still red hot - growing in double-digits -  the category actually suffered its first decline in value, and is beginning to mature, GFK stats indicate. 

"Following a sustained period of continuous growth, this popular segment has begun to mature, and the introduction of lower-end brands and models is now attracting a broader base of consumers to the category."

However, "with an election year looming, and the continued pressure on local business created by the strong dollar, retail conditions will remain challenging," warned Hopkin.

But she says, "a continued focus on the often smaller, but higher-priced and more profitable sub-segments of the technology market will keep revenues stable for the remainder of the year." 

"It is now generally accepted that the mining boom is over for Australia, and the government will be running a deficit for the foreseeable future." 

A Myer spokesperson yesterday told CN Q3 sales of small appliances like coffee machines were up, while electronics remains "challenged" due to deflation in TVs.

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