Technical consumer goods in Japan: the market grows slightly

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According to GfK Temax, in the second quarter of 2015 the technical consumer goods market in Japan reported growth in sales of 1.2%, compared to the same period in 2014.

Major domestic appliances
The major domestic appliances market increased by 7.8% in the second quarter of 2015, compared to the same period last year. Sales of refrigerators improved, compared to Q2 2014, but figures were down compared to the same period in 2013. It is apparent that sales of refrigerators remain at a lower than normal level. The growth in sales of large capacity washers was primarily due to the growing trend for consumers to wash large volumes in a single load. The market size, in value terms, of microwave ovens increased because of the increased market share recorded in the superheated steam type, a product which removes excess oil and retains nutrition.

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Small domestic appliances
Sales in the small domestic appliances sector in the second quarter of 2015 increased by 17.4%, compared to the same period in 2014. Vacuum cleaners recorded a double-digit increase by adding new models in the valuable codeless stick vacuums segment. Rice cookers also grew positively because of the expansion in market share of value-added induction heating pressure models. In contrast, sales of fans fell, compared to Q2 2014, due to the temperature in June 2015 being lower than average.

Consumer electronics
The consumer electronics sector increased by 1.2% in the second quarter of 2015, compared to Q2 2014. Panel TVs reported the first positive growth in five quarters, with 4K TVs contributing positively to sales. The increase in sales of 4K TVs compensated for the decline in their average sales price. Headphones recorded positive growth because the sales of high-end models (including high-resolution models) improved. Some categories such as Blu-ray disc/DVD recorders and loudspeakers also showed positive growth.

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Photography
The photography sector increased by 6.6% in the second quarter of 2015, compared to the same period of 2014. This was the first increase recorded in the last five quarters. This was mainly due to a slowdown in sales in the digital still cameras segment in the same period last year. In addition, the healthy sales of high-priced models in both the DSCs and interchangeable lenses segments contributed to the sector growth in terms of value.

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Information technology
In Q2 2015, the IT sector decreased by 22.5%, compared to the same period in 2014 – the fourth straight quarter of negative growth. However, the growth rate improved from minus 37% in the previous quarter. The increased demand – following the end of support for Windows XP – helped to push the IT sector into positive territory in Q2 2014.

Telecommunications
The telecommunications sector increased by 19.5% in the second quarter of 2015 compared to Q2 2014. The reason for this double-digit growth was the sharp decline of units sold in the same period in 2014, when aggressive sales promotions for new contract users had expired. The share of smartphones (in terms of units sold) has been growing. Also, the average price of mobile phones has been increasing since the third quarter of 2011.

Office equipment and consumables
In Q2 2015, sales in retail channels increased by 0.4% compared to the same period last year. Inkjet cartridges and multifunctional devices, which account for a large share in this sector, reported different trends. In unit sales and terms of value, inkjet cartridges increased in comparison to the same quarter last year. However, multifunctional devices decreased in both areas.