Small appliance sales increase in tough market: GfK

Seasonal changes and popular trends causing people to buy

Braun hand blender

Braun hand blender

According to data released by market research company GFK, small appliances have bucked the trend of declining sales in the consumer technology industry, with growth in the third quarter of 2010. According to GfK, sales figures for the third quarter of 2010 indicate that small domestic appliances experienced a growth of 0.6 per cent in value compared to 2009. The only other sector measured that has experienced growth is IT, with an increase of 8.7 per cent.

Heating product sales jumped 23 per sent in Q3, thanks to a colder winter compared to 2009. The sector was also propped up by popular reality cooking shows like MasterChef, with GfK's TEMAX report finding that kitchen machines grew by 31 per cent, food processors by 13 per cent, and hand blenders by 27 per cent. Spending on hot beverage machines, particularly espresso machines, also grew in value by 20 per cent.

Gwenno Hopkin, strategic planning manager at GfK Retail and Technology, said that the increase in spending on cooking appliances was unlikely to stop while television programs were still on air. "Reality TV seems to have a very direct impact on the upsurge in kitchen appliances... there’s no reason to believe that this new-found love of cooking accessories will suddenly disappear”, she said.

The GfK TEMAX report stated that the sector could have experienced more growth if not for the decline in spending on air conditioners. Despite Q3 being the off-season, air conditioners were responsible for 24 per cent of the value of the sector — but this still represented a 12 per cent decline from 2009.

The strong value of the Australian dollar and the looming increase of interest rates are two of the reasons that the industry has lost 5.5 per cent of its overall value.

GfK predicts that there is unlikely to be growth in the consumer technology industry leading up to the busy Christmas season. “Q4 is likely to be a tough period. Q4 2009 was a strong revenue period, therefore it will be difficult to match the dollar spend one year on”, said Hopkin. “Looking to 2011, the rate of price deflation is likely to have slowed down, but spending will depend on many factors that are currently difficult to foresee, such as broader economic trends.”

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