New York, NY, 11/17/2020
Black Friday is the biggest shopping event of the year for tech and durables in many countries, particularly Europe and the Americas. Last year sales* grew 12 percent, and although GfK does not expect the same growth in 2020, we are predicting a strong week of promotions and sales. With consumers lives centered firmly around the home at the moment, IT and office products continue to be in demand. This is also true for appliances that make life more bearable, whether that´s working, entertainment or domestic activities like cooking and cleaning. As announced before, GfK expects the value of the Technical Consumer Goods (TCG) market to remain strong overall - at last year’s level. For 2020, such 0 percent “growth” equals an estimated market value of 1.0 trillion EUR, including North America.
As we enter the peak retail season with many markets once again in lockdown, manufacturers, retailers and brands in the tech and durables sectors are facing a make or break Black Friday week.
“More than any other Black Friday in memory, the product itself rather than the offer or price is the most important deciding factor for consumers. COVID-19 has shifted shoppers buying intentions from ‘want’ to ‘need’” says Norbert Herzog, GfK expert for the Technical Consumer Goods (TCG) industry. “Of course, price is still important but as demand exceeds supply in several sectors promotions may not be as attractive this Black Friday. But with many consumers either already in, or anticipating further lockdowns, this is going to be a busy year-end peak season all round, with focus on practical solutions and appliances that make life in the same four walls more bearable, whether that’s working, entertainment or domestic activities like cooking and cleaning.”
Three trends that drive this year´s peak season
Work at home: Of all purchasing trends, the “work at home” has been the most influential. Globally, seven in ten employed people and students worked from home at least once per week this summer, according to the GfK Consumer Life Global 2020 study. IT and office products, including computers will continue to be in demand as the world works and studies from home. Based on GfK’s Point of Sales data, a 15 percent annual value growth in unit sales is expected for this category this year. There are 60 million computing devices sold every year in Europe, including CIS states, and in 2020 the market has grown by roughly 20 percent. This equals about just 4 percent of households purchasing an additional device this year, indicating the growth rate has quite a good chance to continue during this peak season and beyond. While monitors experienced a growth in terms of value of +34 percent, laptops (mobile computing) and headsets grew each by +31 percent from May to August 2020.
Health, well-being and hygiene: This trend has been on the rise for a number of years now, though clearly accelerated by the pandemic and the increased focus globally on health and hygiene. GfK expects smart watches, fitness trackers and healthy cooking appliances such as ovens with steam function or liquidizers to perform well this Black Friday and in the weeks running up to Christmas. In this year’s GfK Consumer Life study, 49 percent of global respondents said they actively look for products or services that help them live a healthy lifestyle. The features of certain products may be the same as before, but manufacturers are altering their marketing messages in smart ways.
“Steam was previously marketed as saving time as you don’t have to iron as much,” says Nevin Francis, Global Strategic Insights Manager at GfK. “That’s still true, but now manufacturers are also highlighting the hygiene benefits in light of the pandemic. Washing machines with steam that kills bacteria and viruses in clothes are growing in popularity, as are air purifiers which clean your air when you’re sitting at home all day.” Washing machines with steam that kills bacteria and viruses in clothes are also growing in popularity, as are air purifiers. GfK Point of Sales data shows that from May to August 2020, sales value of washing machines with steam grew by +46 percent, while air treatment experienced a growth of +23 percent and water filters a plus of 14 percent.
Eat at home: By virtue of people now spending their working time at home, they are also spending a lot more time eating and therefore cleaning at home. During the period May to July 2020, the main reopening phase for Europe and other parts of the world after the first wave of COVID-19, sales of kitchen machines more than doubled, in all countries except China. In the GfK Consumer Life 2020 study, 69 percent of global consumers said they now cook for fun at home at least once a week, this is ten percentage points up compared to 2019. According to GfK Point of Sales data, kitchen machines grew in terms of volume by +99 percent between from May to August 2020. Food processors (+53 percent) and Espresso full automatic coffee machines (+39 percent) could also record a significant growth rate.
Two in five consumers spent more time on the internet this year
How, why and what consumers shop this Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas will be somewhat different this year, as COVID-19 has accelerated the transition to digital lifestyles and forced those who would usually have visited a physical store to purchase online. For older generations that had hardly transacted on the internet previously, this was a vital inflection point that removed the barriers that have long prevented some people from changing their shopping habits.
According to the GfK Consumer Pulse Report two in five consumers stated that they have spent more time on the internet this year. Meanwhile GfK research shows that, in the first half of 2020, 48 percent of laptop shoppers in Britain researched products online only, compared with 29 percent who researched both online and offline and just 23 percent who researched in store only.
Norbert Herzog, GfK expert for the Technical Consumer Goods (TCG) industry, concludes: “The increase in online shopping seen during the lockdowns is by no means just temporary. Crucially, the higher share of sales facilitated in online shops has continued beyond the reopening of retail stores after government-imposed lockdowns. This peak season, manufacturers, retailers and brands will need to differentiate particularly their online experience, to meet consumers’ needs for instant gratification and simplification, and to provide the best prices and promotions to tackle fierce competition.”
Notes to editor
* Referring to these countries: Germany, France, Italy, UK, Spain, Russia, Poland, Brazil, Turkey.
GfK regularly collects sales data in more than 70 countries worldwide for the consumer electronics, photo, telecommunications, information technology, office equipment, and major and small domestic appliance segments through its retail panels. All figures are assuming a fixed Euro exchange rate.
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