Australians go on a $2.6 billion tech products buying spree

By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY, NSW: Australians shopped their way through the global recession with an unprecedented spender bender on digital lifestyle products in the first six months of 2009, according to the latest market research from Canon and GfK, the Canon CDLI.

The CDLI (Canon Digital Lifestyle Index) is a bi-annual report that measures retail sales in several key digital lifestyle product categories including IT products, telecommunications, office communications, electronic entertainment, household electrical appliances and photographic equipment.

A representative panel of retailers report their sales figures (in both units and dollar sales value) for the relevant product groups to GfK.

Among the major findings of the CDLI for the period January to June 2009 is the fact that Australian sales in the measured product categories grew by 8.4 per cent to 5.91 million units, while the industry revenue generated by the Canon CDLI categories increased by 7.2 per cent ($174 million) to $2.598 billion, compared with the first half of 2008.

It was a tech product frenzy. Total sales for the Canon CDLI product categories grew seven times faster than for the retailing industry as a whole. Total sales for the entire retail sector grew by 1.1 per cent, whereas total Canon CDLI sales revenues grew by 7.2 per cent over the same period

What were we buying? The CDLI report indicates that LCD TVs, games consoles, digital still cameras and digital media players contributed most strongly to the $174 million sales increase in the first six months of the year

Digital SLR cameras represented a massive 12 per cent of total CDLI revenues, but accounted for 15 per cent of the growth in total CDLI dollar sales.

“A look at the figures since the Canon CDLI started in 2003 shows categories evolving as consumers get more involved in creative pursuits using their technology,” said Canon Australia general manager – Product Marketing, Darren Ryan.

“Despite relatively high household penetration and dropping average selling prices in recent years, digital still cameras are the second-highest category in volume terms and values are also up.”

The growth result would have been even better had the sales figures not been affected by discounting. From 1H 2008 to 1H 2009, the average prices of the plasma TV category fell eight per cent (to $1,779), while LCD TV average prices fell by 11 per cent (to $1,270).

Price reductions stimulated demand in games consoles, where average selling prices fell five per cent (to $334).

The Digital Camcorder category experienced a 5 per cent  drop in unit sales in 1H09, year-on-year. Interestingly, the solid state recording format represented 36 per cent of units sold (up from 7 per cent in 1H08) and HD models accounted for 22 per cent of units sold (up from 14 per cent in 1H08), indicating that the overall volume decrease was in the lower-quality, SD models.

There were categories that grew the average sales prices however. Growth in the Blu-ray disc format helped lift average DVD Player and DVD Recorder prices by 7 per cent and 10 cent (to $122 and $461), respectively.

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