Small domestic appliances on upward trend in Europe

Findings of GfK Retail and Technology for the first half of 2011
(PresseBox) (Nuremberg, ) The European market for small domestic appliances (SDA) has continued to stay on the growth path in the first six months of the year. While Western European markets recorded a sales increase of 5% in comparison to the previous year, Eastern European countries registered a staggering increase of 25%. For Europe as a whole, this equates to growth of 8%. These are GfK Retail and Technology findings prepared for IFA 2011, which is taking place in Berlin.

Russia is the most important growth market in Europe, owing to its market size and the positive developments in the first half of 2011. However, con-sumers in Germany, France and the United Kingdom were also eager to spend on SDA products. In the first quarter in particular, the sector reported business success and increases in all European countries. Double-digit sales growth was achieved in the Ukraine, Poland, Russia and the Czech Republic, which contributed to the upward trend of the market as a whole. The economic crisis, which weakened sales of small domestic appliances in 2009, appears to have been overcome.

Which products are making the largest contribution to this success? In the first half of the year, the sales increases in Eastern Europe were primarily attributable to cylinder vacuum cleaners, water kettles, food preparation appliances and steam irons, as well as fully automatic coffee-/espresso machines. In Western Europe, it is principally sales of fully automatic cof-fee/espresso machines, robotic vacuum cleaners, food preparation appli-ances, electric toothbrushes and espresso pump portioned closed systems which are responsible for positive market developments. There are two reasons for the growth in both Western and Eastern Europe; consumers are purchasing a significantly higher number of appliances than in the previous year and they are also spending more money on the new appliances.

Czechs, Germans and Dutch like to buy online

Both traditional retailers and online sales are contributing to the sales increase for SDA. The share of online sales increased by 3 percentage points in both Western and Eastern Europe, to 13% and 8% respectively. Europeans particularly like to purchase high-value products such as kitchen machines, fully automatic coffee/espresso machines, and robotic vacuum cleaners over the internet. Among Western European consumers, online shopping is especially popular in Germany and the Netherlands, with 18% and 19% of sales respectively attributable to online purchases. In Eastern Europe, internet shopping is most popular in the Czech Republic, where one out of every five euros was spent online.

Energy efficient vacuum cleaners more popular in the West

A closer look at individual product groups shows that vacuum cleaners con-tinue to be the driving force in the SDA sector and make a significant con-tribution to its growth. Food preparation appliances, fully automatic cof-fee/espresso machines, espresso pump portioned closed systems, water kettles, irons and electric toothbrushes have demonstrated similar perform-ances.

Two thirds of overall vacuum cleaner sales in Europe continue to be gener-ated by cylinder vacuum cleaners. A large part of growth in this segment is attributable to energy efficient appliances, though consumers in Western Europe are more interested in these environmentally friendly products than those in the Eastern countries. Some smaller segments are the most dynamic ones. Wet and dry vacuum cleaners and battery operated rechargeable handsticks recorded double-digit growth. The top performers were robotic vacuum cleaners, which increased sales twofold and have now attained a market share of almost 5%. At the moment, the popularity of robots is extremely different around Europe; in Southern Europe, especially Italy and Spain, there is a high demand for these products.

Coffee and espresso machines favored by consumers

When it comes to the daily cup of coffee, fully automatic coffee/espresso machines and espresso pump portioned closed systems are currently the most successful, achieving double-digit growth. In contrast, sales of filter coffee and coffee pad machines have experienced slight declines. Last year's downward trend for fully automatic coffee/espresso machines sales therefore seems to have been overcome. However, 80% of total sales in this segment in Western Europe are attributable to Germany. Consequently, the impact of increased purchasing by German consumers is important when analyzing the overall market. Sales also increased at a double-digit rate in Russia and Poland.

Body care segment booming in Eastern Europe

The body care segment, which includes electric toothbrushes, hairdryers hairstyling appliances, epilators, men's shavers, hair clippers and trimmers, recorded an increase of 7% for the first half of the year in a year-on-year comparison. Sales growth is significantly higher in Eastern Europe than Western European countries, at almost 18% and 5% respectively. The main growth drivers in this region are the Russian and Ukrainian markets.

Electric toothbrushes, hairstyling appliances, men's shavers and laser/IPL-based devices for hair removal have been selling particularly well, although laser/IPL devices are primarily available in Western Europe. The men's shaver segment has maintained the upward trend of the previous year. Russian consumers in particular, are switching to electrical shavers and trimmers, generating a rise in sales for the segment.

The method

Through its retail panel, GfK Retail and Technology regularly collects data on small domestic appliances in the segments of beverages, kitchen appliances, body care, home comfort products and consumables in more than 90 countries around the world. For the Western European market, this evaluation is based on information from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. Data for the Eastern European market is taken from six countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the Ukraine.

Further information: Udo Jansen, tel. +49 911 395 2936, udo.jansen@gfk.com, or visit our office at the IFA trade fair in Berlin from September 2-7, 2011 (VIP Room 2, "Großer Stern").

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