In the first quarter of this year sales of technical consumer goods in Germany, taking into account mobile phones, consumer electronics and more, reached almost €13.6 billion – a steady 0.6% increase on last year.
Major domestic appliances are said to be contributing massively, according to market and consumer information company GfK, with dishwashers being one of the main sales drivers for retailers.
Telecommunications devices may have managed a 3.1% rise in sales from Q1 2013, but the sales volume of €2.1 billion has showed signs of slowing in Germany. Gfk puts this down to a dwindling interest in conventional mobile phones.
Phablets are yet to impress
Smartphones with 4-4.5-inch screen sizes saw the most demand, while sales of phablet-style devices with displays covering 5.6-7 inches decreased slightly. High average prices and consumer weariness of the larger format are thought to be behind the trend.
There was more evidence of sales resilience in the desktop computer market. Historically, sales of desktop machines peak towards December, but it overcame the seasonal trend to record the highest demand in five years.
Overall the IT segment, where desktop is grouped with mobile computers and tablets, boasted sales of almost €4.7 billion between January and March this year, signalling a 2.2% year-on-year increase.
Demand for consumer electronics
In consumer electronics there was a rise of 5.5% on Q1 2013 due to positive trends in niche markets such as docking speakers, which managed double-digit growth to become a sales driver in the radio category.
Photography was one of the most disappointing categories for revenue. It saw a 16% year-on-year drop in sales to €459 billion because of Easter, traditionally a period of high consumer spending, falling into the second quarter of 2014.
Still, GfK did reveal that there was some confidence in fixed-lens products because of compact cameras generating healthy sales. Customers were also looking to high-quality models too as superior photographic equipment is always said to be in demand.