Modest first quarter for the appliances market in UK

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Nearly 8 billion pounds were generated by the UK technical consumer goods market from January to March 2014. In the digital area, the consumer electronics sector enjoyed double digit growth compared to the same quarter of last year. Here are the data released by GfK Temax.

The performance in the first quarter of 2014 indicates a continued lessening of the decline in the three digital categories (consumer electronics, IT and photo). The growth in the consumer electronics sector remains heavily influenced by the launch of some new video games consoles in late 2013. Considering the non-digital areas of the market, the current slight rise in housing transactions already seems to be helping the built in appliances sector.

Telecommunication: SIM free growth continues
The SIM free segment of the smart/mobile phones product category continues to grow significantly. This part of the market is growing at the expense of the contract and prepay handset markets, both of which have decreased during the quarter.

Small domestic appliances: vacuum cleaners take the spotlight
The biggest part of the small domestic appliances sector is vacuum cleaners. During Q1 this product category was also the main driver of growth for the sector. Following the January sales, there has been a lot of promotional activity amongst both retailers and manufacturers, which has likely helped drive value growth and maintain average selling prices.

Office equipment and consumables: good start to 2014
After finishing 2013 on a downward trend, the first quarter of 2014 proved positive for the sector. The growth was driven by the consumables area of the market where inkjet cartridges performed well. The value contributed by multifunction devices, the largest non-consumables product category in the sector, declined slightly compared to the first quarter of last year.

Major domestic appliances: cooling market not cooling
The laundry segment (washing machines and tumble dryers, which combined account for nearly a third of the sector’s value) grows slightly with a value decline in tumble dryers more than being offset by a value growth in washing machines (comparing Q1 to the same quarter last year). The majority of the growth however is in the cooling product category.

Information technology: average selling price falling for tablets
The IT sector has seen little change with small overall volume and value changes in Q1 2014 compared to Q1 2013. However, individual product group performance has varied. Desktop computing continues to see strong growth in both volume and value as consumers replace aged desktops. Monitors have also seen growth, driven by larger sized monitors and higher resolutions. Media tablets volume is still growing slower than previous periods, whilst seeing a decrease in value as a result of significantly lower selling prices from entry level tablets.

Photography: higher end cameras performing well
After a very tough 2013, 2014 started on a more positive trend. Comparing Q1 this year to Q1 last year, the photo market witnessed only a single digit value decline (compared to double digit declines seen during 2013). Higher end cameras are performing well: changeable lens cameras are flat year on year and compact system cameras are even back in growth in Q1 2014 compared to Q1 2013. Fixed lens cameras are still suffering from double digit decline and are dragging down the photo market. As the market moves more and more to replacement, higher end and innovative products should still outperform the entry level ones.

Consumer electronics: innovation is key
Whilst the consumer electronics sector is heavily influenced at the moment by recent launches in the games consoles product category, there is also some growth in other areas. These areas tend to consist of innovative parts of the market such as connected and wireless audio, the largest televisions, headphones and digital portable radio.

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