The Australian CE market is buoyant due to the AU$42bn Federal Government handout claims research group GFK who says that the stimulus has led to sales growth of 11% and 5% growth in value between January and April 2009 over the same period in 2008.
Despite the budget slipping into deficit, and much negative speculation about the future health of the economy and people’s preference to save rather than spend, Australia remains one of the few developed economies to avoid falling into recession – for the time being at least said GFK.
Much of the growth can be attributed to flat panel TV’s market, which accounted for 65% of the total Consumer Electronics revenue of A$1.4bn (January to April 2009).
Sales revenue increased by 5%, fuelled by an increase of 21% in unit sales. The differential in these numbers is evidence of the huge price-cutting & promotional efforts of the major manufactures, which has forced several manufacturers like Hitachi, Pioneer and others from the market.
With strong declines in both LCD & Plasma sectors, the average price of a panel TV of A$1430 is 19% lower than a year ago, a trend that has been aided by the increasing influence of low-priced offerings in the Mass Merchandiser channel.
Elsewhere, the saturated DVD market continues to decline. The shift in focus to Blu-Ray Players & Recorders however, combined with the ever-increasing number of available titles in this format; are beginning to make their presence felt, increasing their share from 5% ($5.4m) to 15% ($16.1m) of the DVD market, year-on-year.
The Set-Top Box market has also benefitted from a separate government initiative: the move to digital TV and free-to-air broadcasting. Sales have increased by 55% and 46% in unit & value sales terms respectively, and the growth is set to accelerate as the year progresses.
Looking forward, there is no doubt that regardless of the government and industry’s best efforts to stimulate sales of Consumer Electronic and other Durable goods, some very challenging times lie ahead. As prices continue to decline, and margins continue to narrow, much will depend on the success of higher or added value growth sectors, such as LED/Organic LED Panel TV, Blu-Ray Player/Recorders, Set-Top Boxes with built-in Recording (PVRs) and Home Theatre Systems.