Smartphones and headphones are booming claims research Company GFK despite a 20% fall in the overall consumer electronics market.According to GFK it was the Telecommunication (+19%) and Information Technology (+2) sectors that were able to all-but offset the value declines in the market; most significantly, a 20% decline for the Consumer Electronics sector. Minor levels of price erosion across the major domestic appliances sector resulted in revenue decline of 1.3% for the quarter, while the unseasonably cool summer did no favours the small domestic appliances sector, which witnessed falls of just over 1% in revenue.
The European research Company said in their latest Temax report that smartphones are now out-selling mobile phones at a rate of 3 to 1 due to consumers upgrading to new models.
However they warn that the category is beginning to show signs of ma-turity, with the rate of growth slowing significantly since quarter 4, 2011.
With 180 smartphones available on the market, consumers of this segment now have more choice than ever said GFK. New models released during the quarter were in-line with the recent trend towards larger screens and slim form factors, and Android remained the dominant operating system, accounting for over half of the models sold.
The inclusion of new technologies – such as Near Field Communication (NFC) – at the top-end of the smartphone market may help fuel future growth within the segment. Despite the current lack of infrastructure in Australia, NFC capability has increased from less than 1% of smartphone sales in quarter 1, 2011, to 6% in quarter 1, 2012.
Another hot category are headphones, in particular, premium headphones. This has seen big growth for brands such as Sennheiser and distributor Convoy with their Dr Dre and Monster headphones.
GFK said that this category grew in value by 46% year-on-year.
“With steep value declines afflicting most segments in the consumer electronics sector, it was refreshing to find a growth story in the form of headphones,” said GfK account director Chris Peczalski.
“This segment grew by 46 per cent in value year-on-year and, uniquely for the CE sector, value growth was substantially higher than unit growth for the quarter, thanks to the increased popularity of high-end, higher-priced, over-ear style models.
“This style of headphones accounted for one-in-five of all headphones bought in the quarter.”
Information Technology: Ultrabooks inject value into notebooks
The popularity of tablets (which GFK call “Webbooks”) boosted the IT category due to an average 30% price drop for tablets below that of notebooks and is also contributing to the slowing value growth of the sector. GFK said that tablets enjoyed a great run in the first quarter of 2012, out-selling notebooks in monthly volume for the first time in March, on the back of the iPad 3 launch.
With the sector’s growth sitting at just 2.2%, quarter 1, 2012 saw an increase of over $100 in the average selling price of notebooks when compared to quarter 1, 2011. The proliferation of the new ultrabook form factor, a slimline, fully-featured notebook, is one reason for the average price increase. Continuing supply issues for hard-drive manufacturers, resulting from last year’s Thailand floods, also contributed. This effect can also be seen in the external hard drive segment, with average prices in-creasing by 29% in the quarter.