By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY, NSW: The Q2 GfK TEMAX report card has to be music to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s ears as he spruiks the positive effects of his fiscal stimulus packages, including the Government’s education tax refund.

In its latest TEMAX report, GfK suggested the education tax refund (of up to $750) for families with school children was considered to be a significant factor in Q2’s unprecedented IT growth, which reached a peak of 44.5 per cent in June 2009.

It is a rising trend because GfK reported that in absolute terms, spend on IT products in Q2 was higher again than that of Q1 (which, in turn, was higher than the Christmas season of Q4 2008), and 66 per cent of the total spend was on Notebooks.

GfK also noted that consumers used the Government tax refund incentive to trade up to higher priced models. The result was a rare overall increase in average prices.

Predictably, heating sales were also up with an early cold start to winter in June. Subsequently, gas and electric heaters, combined with electric blankets, grew by 18 per cent in Q2, with a growth of 73 per cent in June itself.

Other strongly performing categories during the end of financial year sales were vacuum cleaners, air conditioners, hot beverage makers and fun cooking categories. GfK noted that consumers were happy to trade up to premium brands and models, with average prices increasing for both vacuums and espresso machines.

In the photography category, Digital SLR is the strong performer with a 28 per cent growth in value in Q2. GfK reported that due to the rapid growth of the 12+ megapixel segment, the year-on-year price increase was 12 per cent.

The losers in the market were large purchases for the kitchen and laundry, with GfK reporting that consumer spend was channeled towards technical and entertainment products.