March 2021

Turning Point Live! 2021

‘Browns, whites and smalls enjoyed a bumper year’

The first webinar of the week was with Nick Simon, Client Insight Director, Consumer Electronics at GfK, who presented a fascinating overview of market data after what has been an unforgettable year.


he pandemic has its hold on the industry, and a lot of numbers are representative of how the pandemic has changed the landscape in an incredible way, specifically between

online and offline sales. Durables performance in 2020 was outstanding

– unparalleled in 30-plus years in terms of increases across so many sectors and we saw month-on-month percentage growth in total market value. However, after the pandemic hit consumer confidence hit rock bottom. In addition, the Black Friday week in 2020

was smaller than in 2019, yet the whole month of November grew by nine per cent in value. Consumer electronics grew by two per cent and SDA by eight per cent around last year’s Black Friday. Obviously, we have seen disappointing

figures in offline sales, with shops not being able to stay open, a 69 per cent drop in offline sales in April last year, while online from March onwards we saw huge increases. May 2020, for example, saw a 146 per cent jump in sales. The effect of what happened in stores was less

marked towards the end of the year. November was the second full lockdown so online did better, but it wasn’t quite as dramatic as expected.

A bumper year in 2020 All of browns, whites and smalls enjoyed a bumper year in 2020. Consumer electronics accounted for 10.9 per cent of total market value, MDA 9.6 per cent and SDA 7.7 per cent. In CE, the last quarter of 2020 saw a 21 per

cent jump compared to the last quarter of 2019, a combination of the Amazon Prime event – not a day but at least a week in October – plus Black Friday and Christmas, which is remarkable performance given that we already had a very good previous few months. Looking year-on-year, the TV market was up

24 per cent in value and 25 in volume, so very strong indeed. On turnover, headphones are up, as are soundbars and turntables once again showing a value increase for 2020, certainly not an obsolete product anymore. Elsewhere, last quarter 2020 figures for SDA

and MDA were very good indeed, jumping 23 and 28 per cent respectively against 2019. MDA was not top of consumers’ minds until

the shackles of the first lockdown came off in June. And Black Friday in MDA was actually quite disappointing compared to previous years. Although, the media coverage of freezer sales was

not exaggerated! Up 56 per cent in units compared to 2019. Cooling was the next biggest category.

SDA in demand In SDA, products were much more in demand during lockdown one. They didn’t have the big nose dive that we saw in MDA in March and April. In fact, March to June last year SDA numbers were very high, then again in August and October. People were trying their hand at home baking,

as food preparation appliance units were up 26 per cent against 2019. Irons saw a sizeable decrease – I guess if

you’re working from home you don’t need to iron your shirt! Meanwhile, in smart home, we haven’t

stopped kitting out our homes; yet smart speakers were actually down by 29 per cent. One reason I think is not saturation but a high number of multiple ownership homes with varying types of speakers in different rooms. Smart lighting and switches increased

dramatically, as well as safety and security, up 28 and 75 per cent respectively. So what about 2021? Sadly I don’t have a

crystal ball, but looking at which markets did best and year-on-year data it’ll be interesting to see, and we have the first weekly data from January about now so we’ll begin to get a feel of how things will pan out.


Monthly CE market growth November 18 – December 20 Monthly MDA market growth November 18 – December 20

Monthly SDA market growth November 18 – December 20

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