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GfK has reported that the value of the Australian technical consumer goods industry has decreased 5.5 percent. This quarter saw the third consecutive quarterly year-on-year decline in the value of the Australian technical consumer goods industry despite a hold in interest rates and strong market.

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According to the latest GfK TEMAX report, the consumer electronics category – dominated by flat panel televisions – suffered the biggest decline, dropping 18 percent in value compared to the same time last year.

Retailers of flat panel TVs were hardest hit as the flat panel TV market accounts for just over 60 percent of all value sales.

“Previously, strong unit sales have, to a certain extent, balanced out the significant price deflation within this category. However, with unit growth beginning to slow, and the erosion of average prices accelerating at the premium LED and 3D TV end of the market, value spend simply cannot be maintained, resulting in a quarter 3 decline of 19 percent. Add to this the unit and average price decline of almost all other significant categories within this sector, and the result is an overall sector decline of 18 percent,” said Gfk.

3D TV accounted for 11 percent of value sales in Q3 (up from 6 percent in Q2) as more brands enter the market, begin advertising and promotions, and more 3D content becomes available.

The report also revealed that the only sector to enjoy significant value growth was IT, with retailers reporting close to 9 percent (8.7 percent) increase in spend on notebooks, PCs, and storage devices. However, this increases ‘mask a significant year-on-year decline in average price: 20 percent for notebook PCs, and 17 percent for storage’.

 

GfK also said that spend on seasonal heating categories were strong this quarter, with an overall growth of 23 percent. Kitchen machines grew by 31 percent, food processors by 13 percent, and hand blenders by 27 percent. Hot beverage makers, particularly espresso machines, also continued to be extremely popular, growing in value by 20 percent.

“Indeed, the small appliances sector would have achieved a pretty solid growth, had it not been for a decline in spend on air conditioners. Although off-season, air conditioners still accounted for 24 percent of the value of this sector in the third quarter, but experienced a 12 percent decline compared to a very strong growth year in 2009,” said the company.

According to GfK Australia’s Gwenno Hopkin, it’s unlikely that value growth will return to the majority of these sectors in the coming quarter as the last quarter of the year is often characterised by heavy promotional activity.

“Declining prices are good news for consumers, but a difficult issue to manage for retailers and brands. I would expect a big promotional push in the final quarter on the latest, innovative technologies, which should invigorate customers and encourage them into stores,” said Hopkin.

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