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Who said there was a downturn? Consumer electronic sales in the Asia Pacific region including Australia and New Zealand grew by 13% in the first half of 2008 to US$ 11.5 Billion dollars, according to research group GFK who have said that they are “very bullish” about the next six months.

 

The”GfK Asia retail data portrays very positive news on the consumer electronics market across the region for the first half of 2008, with increases in volume and value in many product segments,” Steven Kaiser, Commercial Director CE, GfK Asia said. “Our data shows a strong and healthy consumer climate which, thus far, has been less affected by the economic woes in other parts of the world.”


The positive news comes as the Australian Reserve Bank gets set to cut interest rates later today.

 
For Televisions, the GfK data indicates that, in general, consumers in Australia continue to favour LCD TVs over Plasma TVs during the first half of 2008 and year on year, LCD TV retail volumes grew by more than 50% in Australia and New Zealand the research Company said.

 

Australia is not alone in witnessing CE growth, Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam all lead the way with over 250% retail volume growth for LCD TV in the first half of the year when compared to the first six months retail sales of 2007. Malaysia and Thailand register first half LCD TV retail volume growth rates above 115% compared to the January to June period one year ago.

 

 
Camcorders, GfK reports an upturn in the full HD segment with total retail volumes topping 150,000 units in the first half of the year, an increase of more than 400% when compared to figures from the same time frame in 2007. For Total Asia, full HD retail sales value rise by almost 350% year on year, commanding a total market value over US$ 190 Million in the first half of 2008.


“It is impressive that full HD Camcorders, with an average retail price of over US$ 1000, are being snapped up very quickly. These figures show that consumers continue to have a healthy appetite for new technology and are able to afford high ticket indulgences,” said Mr. Kaiser

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GfK’s Consumer Electronics Data Summary also includes new market tracking of the fast-growing car navigation technology segment. The GfK report includes the first collected retail audit data covering Portable Navigation Devices (PND) in  Australia.

 
GfK’s initial retail figures for four Countries including Australia show sales of over 600,000 units in tracked cities, with total demand of over US$ 210 Million from January to June 2008.

“PNDs are yet another sign of new technology having real legs in Asia. The map quality is improving dramatically and navigation is increasingly seen as a very desirable upgrade for all types of drivers in Asia. Both the PND hardware manufacturers and the map providers will prosper from the rapid adoption of this technology in Asia, as vehicle ownership continues to explode in the region and driving habits evolve due to mass urbanization,” said Mr. Kaiser. “GfK sees a very strong second half and an even stronger 2009 for PNDs in Asia. Of course, the automotive OEMs will take notice of this trend and will want to join the fray offering built-in kit, however, the price advantage and easy transportability of after-market PNDs should continue to sway consumers in Asia for years to come.”
GfK’s report also includes the first-ever retail data on Headphones This market is strongly driven by branded products with a current retail market volume of over 3.2 Million units and retail sales with a value of over US $65.5 Million in the first six months of 2008 alone the Company said.


“The most popular Headphones are in-ear type, used primarily for portable use, as MP3 and MP4 aficionados upgrade their stock earphone kit. GfK data demonstrates that as many as 60% of consumers in Asia opt for after-market Headphones as an upgrade for their MP3 and MP4 players,” comments Mr. Kaiser. “Consumers in the region purchase far more Headphones from European and Japanese brands despite the wide availability of lower-price products. It’s yet another sign of the evolving tastes and growing purchasing power we find in the region.”


The report includes data from 13 countries* overall, covering the following products: Televisions; DVD Player Recorders and DVD portable; Audio Home Systems and Home Theatre Systems; Camcorders; MP3 Digital Portable Audio Players and MP4 Digital Portable Video Players; Car Navigation and Headphones.

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