During the final quarter of the year, full year results did not manage to go in the black. On the contrary, the non-food sales saw a decline of -2.8% in Q4, compared to the same period last year. This affects the results for the whole of the year, shrinking the value ever so slightly by 0.4%, compared to 2016.
Results in the red for the CE sector. Over the whole of 2017, value declines by -4%, driven by an even bigger loss in volume.
During the fourth quarter of 2017, the IT and Office Equipment market increased in value by almost +2%, for a total value of close to €558m. For the entire year of 2017, the increase was also +2%, for a total value of just over €1,995,000m.
The Telecom Business ends the year on a barely positive note with a value growth of 1.66% and in volume nearly a break-even (-0.41%).
With the full year analysis, come the Q4 results. Let’s look back. During the last quarter, sales volumes traditionally shrink month by month. This has everything to do with the typical end-of-year shopping for gifts. After all, who wants a cooker hood for Christmas? Moreover, anticipation grows when approaching the biggest sales period of the year: January Sales. However, at the end of November, we saw a peak in sales. The Black Friday phenomenon is starting to make inroads in the white goods market.
Driven by surging gaming revenues, home entertainment spending (including music streaming and downloading), rose 2.7% in the last quarter of 2017.
Small Domestic Appliances posted a volume decline of -2% in the 4th quarter of 2017. With a current value growth of +4% to about €14m at the end of 2017, Shavers was the best performing category in Small Domestic Appliances.
After an increase of 0.3% in the first semester, revenues in the second - in which for the first time the price of every new book released in Flanders was subject to a regulated book price - declined by 2.7%.
As the year progressed, it became clear that 2017 was going to be a challenging year for the Belgian Home Improvement market. Figures show that the sector’s half-yearly performance was amongst the worst of the last four years.
Compared to a very positive October last year, the Fashion market was not able to equal these figures this year. Therefore, October is, unfortunately, responsible for a decline in value of -1% for 2017. Compared to last year, the weather in October 2017 was much better, which may have had an impact when shopping for autumn and winter collection.
Initial data from GfK’s newly launched tire retail panel in the US shows a 5.6% decline in store sales year over year, with a startling 26% drop in purchases of winter tires.
We’re underway with 2018 and if you’re at all interested in tech, you’ve probably already read about the latest developments in the market.
However, you might want to take a look at what we have in stall for you. Using our world-renowned point of sales insights, we‘ve put together a guide to the major trends from last year and what to watch out for in the months to come.
They may have been around for a while, but these devices are still having a massive impact on today’s tech industry. Last year, manufacturers sold a whopping 1.460 billion smartphones at an average price of USD 323, with demand in Emerging Asia and Eastern Europe boosting sales in this market. Meanwhile, consumers in North America, Western Europe and Developed Asia are purchasing premium models with improved features such as larger screens, better processing power and longer battery life. In countries like Russia and India, the sales of cheaper smartphones are gaining importance.
Feature phones are not over the hill either. These products are proving to be particularly popular among the elderly in developed markets.
The increase in tablet sales and the drop in demand for PCs were big stories in the tech world a few years ago, but it seems tablets have hit their peak.
Retail channel sales of media tablets fell globally by 18% in 2017 when compared to the previous year (Jan-Oct). This was due to a severe decline in emerging markets, where these products account for 34% of the demand for computers (desktops, laptops and tablet computers). While tablets are still popular and often the go-to device for media consumption on the go, the steady rise of this product group appears to have come to a stop.
This trend overlaps with the resurgence of personal computer sales, predominately ultra-thin notebooks. Driven by Western Europe and APAC, these products account for 10% of the global retail demand (excluding North America).
Consumers are looking for bigger TVs, especially in China, where it’s expected they will push the average screen size to 54.1 inches by 2020. But these products are not only getting bigger, they are getting smarter – 68% of all TVs sold are now “smart”.
The idea of the smart home will continue to grow in other areas too. Smart appliances and Internet of Things devices are experiencing triple digit growth rates as people are starting to buy into the industry vision for the connected home. That’s especially true in the United States, which – despite consumer skepticism – remains the largest market for smart devices.
For virtual reality, consumers are still waiting for the must have content and applications to arrive.
However, given recent announcements from leading entertainment studios, such as VR storytelling in films and the broadcasting of sports matches in VR, this is likely to change in 2018. It’s also expected that stand alone and untethered devices will come into play, for example the Oculus Go.
Meanwhile, the market is split between cheap VR head mounts where users can use their smartphones and more expensive head mounted displays for gaming. Due to weak sales of head mounted devices in 2017, this category has shown only moderate volume growth year-on-year with +2% in units. Nevertheless, a 19% increase in value indicates that the market is heading towards devices that are more sophisticated. In fact, their sales share increased from 17% in 2016 to 27% in 2017.*
Another fascinating insight is that the main sales channel for premium devices is not online anymore, but the real world, i.e. offline retail stores. For VR, it appears the immediate real-life experience of the technology is an important factor in turning buyers on to virtual reality. In Europe in 2017, 50% of sales for head mounted displays came from offline outlets (compared to 39% in 2016).*
*GfK POS data 10 European Countries 2016, 2017
Arndt Polifke is the Global Director of Telecom at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email email@example.com or leave a comment below.