By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Online trading is not responsible for a loss of technology sales revenue at retail level, according to the most recent Canon Consumer Digital Life Index (CDLI), released this morning.

Although the CDLI notes that total revenue in the 13 digital categories surveyed dropped by 13.3 per cent ($4.11 billion to $3.57 billion), units sales have remained steady, meaning the $540 million shortfall has been caused by price discounting and not the much maligned online marketplace.

“Considering that the number of devices sold remained unchanged half-year on half-year, the majority of the sales value decline was attributable to a fall in prices, rather than cautious spending or a loss of appetite for digital products,” reads the report, which is prepared independently by GfK Retail & Technology. “Consumers therefore benefitted from unprecedented levels of high-performance technology affordability.”

An incredible 8.3 million individual technology products were sold in Australia in the second half of calendar 2010. Categories surveyed include camcorders, cameras, printers and MFDs, plasma and LCD TVs, DVD players and recorders, media players, gaming consoles, PCs and PVRs.

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Of these categories, only PCs grew in sales value, with a 3 per cent increase compared to the second half of 2009. The biggest decreases were in LCD TVs (-43 per cent), plasma TVs (-22 per cent) and gaming consoles (-21 per cent).

“One of the categories to suffer a significant sales value loss was Games Consoles (-$114 million), but the largest half-year on half-year decrease came from flat panel TVs (Plasma and LCD), with a total sales value decline of $353 million,” reads the report.

Whereas gaming consoles can point to a lack of new models, with the Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 all mature consoles in the market, the stark declines in the TV category, despite new ranges from all major players and a key new technology — 3D — suggest significant, endemic problems in the way TVs are marketed and sold in Australia.