Camera sales decline slows, interchangeables grow

The slump in camera sales which started in the Australian market in 2011 and hit hard in 2012, is beginning to be arrested, with the GfK Temax figure for the first quarter of 2013 ‘just’ 8 percent off in dollar terms compared to first quarter 2012.

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In the previous two quarters (Q4 2012 and Q3 2012), the decline in Photo was 16 percent and 18 percent when compared to the same two quarters in 2011.

This slowdown in the rate of decline reflects the trend in the broader market for ‘technical consumer goods’, where the value of the market for Q1 2013, was down just 1.6 percent on Q1 2012. This is the lowest rate of decline in five quarters.

A significant slowdown in the rate of decline for the Consumer Electronics sector had a positive impact on the overall market. Other sectors besides Photo recorded a relatively flat performance, with the exception of Small Domestic Appliances, which enjoyed an 8 percent year-on-year growth.

GfK analyst for the Photo sector, Min-Woo Jeong, told Photo Counter that compacts are still in decline, dragging down the entire sector, but the rate of decline has slowed down compared to the last half of last year, while the interchangeable sector – both DSLRs and mirrorless continues to grow, and is up by 8 percent when compared to Q1 2012.

Average selling prices overall were up, including interchangeables, but at a lower rate.

Consumer demand for increasingly feature-rich and higher priced smartphones stabilised the value of the Telecommunications sector.

Key trends within mobile phones in the first quarter were the dominance of 4G, now accounting for well over half of all sales, the growth of 5-inch and greater screens, and the decline in pre-paid purchases.

With screen sizes of smartphones and media tablets coming closer together, it is the smaller screens that have driven the unit growth of media tablets during the first quarter, according to GfK.

Assessing the overall outlook, GfK stated: ‘It is now generally accepted that the mining boom is over for Australia, and the government will be running a deficit for the foreseeable future. With an election year looming, and the continued pressure on local business created by the strong dollar, retail conditions will remain challenging.

‘In the meantime, while the CE sector shows signs of stabilising, the IT and Telecom sectors now face the challenge of operating in a mature market environment. Hopefully, a continued focus on the often smaller, but higher-priced and more profitable sub-segments of the technology market will keep revenues stable for the remainder of the year.’


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