By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: While the news from GfK’s latest TEMAX report is mostly outstanding, the report reveals some ongoing pain caused by discounting in the flat panel TV and other consumer electronics markets.

GfK reports that there was a marked slow-down in the value growth of the consumer electronics market in quarter 1, compared to the high growth rates enjoyed in 2008. Flat panel TVs, which account for 60 per cent of this market, experienced a strong start to the year during the January sales. But pricing was very aggressive, so despite significant unit growth quarter on quarter, the category’s value only grew 6.6 per cent.

Other growth categories were blu-ray hardware (while DVD players and recorders were in decline), home theatre systems grew19 per cent, and set-top boxes grew 35 per cent. MP3s grew13.7 per cent, with average prices increasing as consumers buy higher capacity models. Camcorders and Car Navigation, both experienced a modest decline in overall value.

The Cooking category was another category that didn’t perform so well — it experienced a decline of 3.7 per cent.

GfK reported that although consumer spending was high in the first quarter, unemployment is predicted to rise steadily throughout the year and a recession seems likely, so although the figures aren’t yet showing it, the sales growth may not be sustained throughout the year.