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Despite the global financial crisis, Australians have purchased more tech gear in the first six months of 2009 than in any other first half, according to a survey conducted by Canon Australia.

Figures from the latest Canon Consumer Digital Lifestyle Index (CDLI) shows that total unit sales in the first half of 2009 of the digital lifestyle products covered by the Canon CDLI grew by 8.4 percent to 5.91 million units, while the industry revenue generated by the Canon CDLI categories increased by 7.2 percent ($174 million) to $2.598 billion, compared with the first half of 2008.

LCD TVs, Gaming Consoles, Digital Still Cameras and Digital Media Players contributed most strongly to the $174 million sales increase in the first six months of the year. The demand for more Digital Still Cameras, particularly digital SLR cameras, saw this category representing 12 percent of total CDLI revenues, but accounting for 15 percent of the growth in total CDLI dollar sales.

Canon Australia’s General Manager – Product Marketing, Darren Ryan said, “The latest results are very encouraging, particularly given the continuing economic uncertainty, and they reinforce our faith in the strength of the Australian digital technology industry.”

“Following on the heels of a record spend on digital lifestyle products in 2008, the figures leave us feeling confident as we head into the Christmas half. Australians love their digital technology, and they continue to direct a greater proportion of their discretionary income to it, even in uncertain times,” added Ryan.

 

According to the Canon CDLI figures, the total product revenues grew considerably faster than for the retail sector as a whole. Whereas the ABS Business Indicators Report estimates trend sales in 1H 2009 for the entire Australian retail sector grew by 1.1 percent, CDLI revenues grew 7.2 percent over this same period.
 
“A look at the figures since the Canon CDLI started in 2003 shows categories evolving as consumers get more involved in creative pursuits using their technology. Despite relatively high household penetration and dropping average selling prices in recent years, digital still cameras are the second-highest category in volume terms and values are also up. We’re seeing consumers more engaged in the category than ever, and using more of their leisure time to create, share and express themselves through high-quality images,” says Ryan.
 
An estimated 72 percent of the Australian adult population now own a digital camera and digital SLR cameras are now growing their share within the digital camera category. This supports findings that Australian consumers are becoming more conscious of the quality of the images they are taking and are availing themselves of the creative opportunities offered by digital SLR camera technology.
 
“Given the strong performance in the first half and the fact that Australian consumers continue to enjoy outstanding value, we expect to see strong sales in the lead up to Christmas and the trend of year-on-year growth in technology spending to continue,” concluded Ryan.
 
Compared to inflation which increased by +1.5 percent over the year to June 2009, the decrease of 1.1 percent across the Canon CDLI basket of products delivered relative value to Australian consumers.

 

Some highlights of the Canon Consumer Digital Lifestyle Index for the first half of 2009:
 
— Product categories with the highest market size by value are:
– LCD televisions (38.9 percent of total Canon CDLI revenues)
– Plasma televisions (16.3 percent)
– Digital still cameras (11.6 percent)
– Games consoles (11.2 percent)
– Digital media players (8.6 percent)
 
— Total sales growth in the Canon CDLI categories would have been higher had it not been for lower revenues in categories such as Plasma TVs and DVD recorders.  From 1H 2008 to 1H 2009, Plasma TV average prices fell 8 percent (to $1,779), while LCD TV average prices fell by an even more compelling 11 percent (to $1,270).  Price reductions stimulated demand in Games Consoles, where average selling prices fell 5 percent (to $334), and in MFDs, where average selling prices declined by 6 percent (to $141).
 
— The Digital Camcorder category experienced a 5 percent drop in unit sales in 1H09, year-on-year, amid a significant technological evolution in the category. Most notable is the shift from Standard Definition (SD) to High Definition (HD) recording, which offers more vibrant colours and higher image quality; as well as the introduction and growth of Solid State recording formats (Flash Memory/Memory Cards). The Solid State recording format represented 36% percent of units sold (up from 7 percent in 1H08) and HD models accounted for 22 percent of units sold (up from 14 percent in 1H08), indicating that the overall volume decrease was in the lower-quality, SD models.
 
— Although average selling prices have fallen over the long term in most CDLI categories, recent selling price increases in other categories over the last two quarters indicate that consumers are opting for higher specifications, increased functionality and they are opting to pay for a more advanced digital lifestyle. For example, growth in the Blu-ray disc format helped lift average DVD Player and DVD Recorder prices by 7 percent and 10 percent (to $122 and $461), respectively.

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