However, the study identified mixed results at sector level. The photographics category enjoyed a modest growth in the three-month period ending March 31, while information technology and telecommunications fell by more than 30%.
The overall technical consumer goods market tracked by GfK TEMAX index totaled a record low of €271 million in January-March period.
The photographics category outperformed the other sectors, the only one that saw a growth in the quarter. Small domestic appliances and consumer electronics suffered one digit decline, for the first time since fourth quarter 2008, while major domestic appliances dropped 13.1%. Office equipment and consumables area has been on a negative trend in the first quarter, with 27.6% drop. Telecommunications and information technology suffered a contraction of 34.7% and 38.2% respectively.
Source: GfK TEMAX Romania, GfK Retail & Technology
Compared to the same period of last year, the photographics market suffered a mild decline of merely 2.5%. However, the market has been €2 million below the level of previous three quarters.
Sales of digital photo frames, that saw record numbers in December 2009, enjoyed a merely modest growth in the trailing quarter, while compact camera sales remained constant. In the digital camera market, the study indicates that consumers’ buying behavior based on quality/price ratio has been reflected in their preference for D-SLR cameras and cutting-edge compact cameras (zoom>=11x).
Small domestic appliances
With total sales of €17 million, small domestic appliances market dropped 5.3% year-on-year in the first quarter 2010, nearing the Q209 level. The market decline has been largely driven by the poor performance of razors segment, and epilators that decreased by 20%. Accounting for 35% of the small domestic appliances market, and falling 8% year-on-year - vacuum cleaners – had a major negative impact on the overall market. In the first quarter, shaving machines, epilators, vacuum cleaners and irons had the weakest performance since the beginning of 2009.
Compared to the same period of last year, kitchen machines, hair care equipment and water heaters were in the positive territory. The high demand for electronic mixers and blenders triggered by the price drop has achieved great sales that lifted market-wide value. Espresso machines and filter-pad machines segment dropped 3%in the first quarter.
With total revenues similar to first three quarters in 2009, Jan-Mar sales slipped 7.6% year-on-year. Flat-screen televisions segment accounted for €40 million of total consumer electronics market that is estimated at €57 million. For the segment, first-quarter sales stood at Q109 level.
Compared to 2009, March 2010 has seen certain products generating strong sales, such as PTVs and video consoles that achieved a double-digit growth rate, while audio and home cinema systems slowed down their decline rate by the same value.
Major Domestic Appliances
In the first quarter, major domestic appliances market achieved a mere €58 million. March Easter promotions only have contributed to the negative growth rate of 13.1% recorded in the same period of last year.
Investments in innovative segments, such as built-in machines, might slow down the price decline and avoid a deepening of the market instability, GfK TEMAX study found.
Office equipment segment saw a 27.6% drop in the trailing quarter this year, to €10.6 million. The laser printers subcategory has remained relatively strong, due to the decrease of the average price. However, the subcategory doesn’t have a sufficient share in the office equipment market to offset the negative trend of the other segments.
Telecom segment was characterized by a predominantly negative trend in the January-March period, with 34.7% drop and total revenues of €42 million. The poor performance was largely driven by the lower average price for mobile phones and high discounts from carriers.
Although we’re seeing a negative growth, smartphones continue to take hold of the mobile phones market in terms of consumer preferences. The smartphones total revenues might change the course of the telecommunications sector in the future, according to GfK TEMAX.
The information technology sector recorded €80 million at the end of first quarter, down 38.2% from the same period of last year.
Despite the weak performance of the desktop PC segment, the particularly handy notebooks had a bigger share in Q1 IT market value, as lower prices spurred demand for netbooks.
The business-to-business segment weighed heavily in first quarter results of the market. Despite the higher share it holds in the information technology industry, its negative growth pattern has left a significant footprint on the whole IT sector.
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