According to GfK Temax UK, the first quarter of 2015 saw a slight dip in the value attributable to the UK technical consumer goods market when comparing to the same quarter last year. The key technology areas declined, with the IT sector suffering from market saturation in the media tablets product category, whilst the consumer electronics sector returned to value decline after a relatively positive 2014. There was better news in the small and major domestic appliances sectors which got off to an encouraging start in 2015.
Major domestic appliances
The major domestic appliances sector has had a positive start to 2015, largely fuelled by promotional activity throughout the peak January sales period. Built in appliances were the main drivers of growth in quarter one 2015, which can be linked to the recent improvements in the UK housing market. In fact all categories achieved growth in quarter one 2015 versus the same quarter last year, apart from washing machines, where value sales fell slightly.
Small domestic appliances
The key product category driving growth in the small domestic appliances sector is vacuum cleaners, which benefitted from retailer promotions, especially during the January sales period. In the kitchen segment, food preparation devices provided growth in quarter one, whilst in the personal care segment, dental care products were the winner.
After the positive overall performance for consumer electronics in 2014 was brought to a halt in the fourth quarter of the year, the first quarter of 2015 also declined. Although televisions larger than 42 inches grew further and sound bars continued to grow, together with wireless speakers and connected and multi-room audio systems, just about all other product categories decreased, albeit at a less dramatic rate than in previous years.
The performance of the photography sector remains negative as 2015 begins, with compact cameras continuing to suffer from cannibalization by smartphones. At the more advanced end of the sector, interchangeable lenses also experience value loss compared to quarter one last year, exacerbating the overall negative situation of the sector.
The IT sector declines in quarter one due to the strong fall in media tablets, a product group which still occupies a large share of the sector. There is a consumer trend towards content creation, an activity which media tablets cannot easily accommodate. Conversely, mobile and deskbound computing are both in moderate sales value growth, as well as most other categories. Product groups in the strongest value growth include monitors, media gateways and visual cameras.
Value growth in the telecommunications sector is driven by smart and mobile phones. There is associated strong demand for mobile phone accessories as consumers seek to protect and enhance their devices, with headsets contributing a significant amount of value growth in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same quarter last year.
Office equipment and consumables
The office equipment sector is fairly stable as gains for multi-function printers, accessories and shredders are somewhat offset by single function printers and scanners.