The major domestic appliances (MDA) category, comprised of cooking appliances, refrigerators, laundry appliances and dishwashers, declined by 3.4 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2014, as stability returned to several mature, replacement markets, according to GfK Retail and Technology.

Sales totaled $758 million, down from $811 million during the fourth quarter of 2013, which included Christmas. A more telling comparison is from the the quarter before that, the third quarter of 2014, in which sales totaled $799 million.

All told, the 12 months to 31 March 2014 resulted in just over $3.1 billion in appliances sales.

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“The MDA sector experienced a slow-down in quarter 1, recording its second successive quarter of value decline,” said Gwenno Hopkin from GfK. “This comes as no surprise for such a stable market, where periods of growth are almost always followed by periods of decline.”

Hopkin said that despite the decline there were still growth categories, such as in kitchen appliances, where new releases with modern features have attracted consumers up to more expensive price points.

“These negative results at the sector level disguise some strong pockets of growth. Both the cooking and dishwasher segments performed well, helped by a shift towards higher priced, premium products. Of particular note within cooking was a shift towards pyrolytic ovens and induction hobs, both of which command a price premium.

Hopkin had a somewhat bleak short-term view of the market, borne mostly out of the limitations on appliance purchasing.

“After a very strong 2013, the MDA sector will face a strong challenge in 2014 to remain in growth. MDA products are characterised by long lifecycles, and are somewhat limited by household numbers. Continuous, longterm periods of growth are therefore very difficult to achieve.”