Germany looks positive on electronics sales

This pre-Christmas season is the most important period for sales of consumer electronics products. While some might argue whether the sale of large flat-panel TV sets count as ‘gifts’, it is a fact that consumers seem compelled to buy technical consumer goods at a considerable rate in the build-up to the year-end holiday season.

Market research specialist GfK states that the UK has just had a record week for sales of games (see separate story) although Germany’s technical consumer goods market fell during Q3 by 1.6%, with the greatest falls registered in the telecoms and photo markets. IT and consumer electronics sales “remained stable” says GfK.

“In the third quarter, the market for consumer electronics stagnated at €2.4bn in sales. Total sales since the start of the year were €7.3bn, up 8.8% on the year. The main growth drivers were LCD TVs, which account for almost half of the consumer electronics market. Growth in this group was uninterrupted even in the absence of major football events, which shows that the market is far from saturated. Many consumers are in the process of switching to LCD and are therefore supporting the market. In particular both sets with large screens (37 inch and above) and cheaper 32 inch sets are both selling well,” says the GfK study.

“As in the other quarters, the telecoms market recorded significant downturns. This sector fell by 14.5% to a volume of €842 million, with all groups observed in GfK TEMAX recording drops in sales. The reasons for this are likely to be the high market saturation and the low levels of consumer willingness to spend. There are also currently very few innovations on the market to encourage spending.”

GfK’s study on Germany concluded: “The financial crisis has not yet affected the market as strongly as feared. The consumer climate has been at a stable low level since September and falling oil prices are currently reducing concerns over spending power, which means that development in the fourth quarter is likely to be positive. However, the financial market crisis is not yet over. Consumer expectations of the economy and income are cautious and the current developments have meant that the signs are not so optimistic for trade in the ever important fourth quarter. A concluding forecast, however, is not possible due to the number of countering effects.”