Bing Lee general manager, Peter Harris has described January 2024 sales as “challenging” with the seasonal category the only real positive result.

“Seasonal products were a standout due to some consistently warmer weather,” he told Appliance Retailer.

“Although we’ve seen positive indicators around the slowdown of inflation, which should put a stop to rate rises, retail numbers across the board were challenging for December and I think that trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

“The cost-of-living pressures are real, and the negative press continues to make consumers conservative with their budget. Supply challengers due to wharf disruptions and shipping in the Middle East is another challenge. I am hopeful things will improve by the second half of the year with the possibility of a rate cut and more positive economic outlook.

“We need to be pragmatic. Retail is cyclical and we should slowly start trending back up. Do I see one area that will be outstanding? No. We as retailers need to work for every sale and provide customers with a great experience, highlighting features and benefits of every product, so our industry gets a greater share of consumers wallets.”

The return of a busy builders’ schedule helped drive a solid January for South Australia appliance specialist, Rawsons Appliances.

“Alfresco appliances remain strong and electric heating products are growing as households transition from gas appliances,” sales director, Jon Pysing said.

“Looking ahead, I expect commodity box movers to see a decline but premium to stay buoyant. We are back in a Covid/pandemic mentality when it comes to stock. It’s easier to convince consumers to make a quicker decision given worldwide stock movement situations. Those who procrastinate on a purchase decision can easily miss out.”

Sales in January were healthy compared to last year for Western Australia appliance specialist, Hart & Co, despite it typically being a challenging month with holidays in full swing and the resumption of school impacting buying patterns.

“We’ve been selling a lot of replacement product and one-offs with consumers seemingly only buying the necessities and seasonal products such as BBQs. Cooking products for renovators or new homes are traditionally not as buoyant in January,” Hart & Co executive chairman, Rick Hart told Appliance Retailer.

“It’s always hard to predict the year ahead and interest rates always have an effect, so we’ll need to wait and see. In saying that, 2024 will have its challenges and retailers need to be innovative to encourage buyers, but I’m confident the market will be relatively stable.

“The appliance sector seems to survive through all sorts of recessions and slowdowns and while it’s hard to see a silver bullet coming – I’m sure the industry will continue to produce reasonable results. Sometimes when least expected a new product or innovation pops up – let’s hope for that as well.”