By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY, NSW: Australians spent their way out of recession while many countries in the developed world succumbed to fear of the global recession, putting less money back into the economy. The latest GfK TEMAX data shows a healthy local market, particularly in IT.

Launched in Germany in 2007, the GfK TEMAX is a quarterly sales index that measures the same technical goods categories in 33 countries around the world. Results from each country can be viewed at the GfK TEMAX website.

The technical goods categories measured and reported by GfK TEMAX are defined as Consumer Electronics, Photo (digital still cameras and digital photo frames), Major Domestic Appliances, Small Domestic Appliances (which includes air conditioners), Information Technology, Telecommunication and Office Equipment and Consumables.

The latest GfK TEMAX, for Q3 2009 shows that Australians spent $4.58 billion on technical goods during the quarter — a 4.2 per cent increase over the same period in 2008. The total technical goods spending in Australia for the 3 quarters of 2009 was $13.8 billion. This puts the Australian market on track for a $20 billion annual expenditure on these categories, given that the fourth quarter of 2008 saw Australians spend $5.3 billion.

In reporting the TEMAX results, GfK provided macroeconomic data that local house prices moved into positive growth in quarter 2 (which was announced in quarter 3), while petrol prices remained flat, and unemployment fell slightly, to 5.7 per cent in September.

Yet GfK announced that despite these positive economic indicators, growth in most TEMAX categories was modest in Q3 09 versus Q3 08. In fact the photography category contracted 2.3 per cent. However, spending on IT products goes from strength to strength with a 20.8 per cent increase Q3 09 versus Q3 08.

As GfK reported, most of this IT category growth was on notebooks, but IT consumables, experienced an overall growth of 8.4 per cent, with cartridges proving to be cash cows with 18.6 per cent growth.