NUREMBERG (dpa-AFX) - The year 2023 was not a good one for electronics retailers: Consumers in Germany cut back on household technology and consumer electronics in particular. Sales of technical consumer goods fell by 1.6 percent compared to the previous year despite higher prices, while sales of household appliances fell by 2.4 percent, according to the market research institute NIQ. By way of comparison, overall private spending rose by 5.5% last year, driven by price increases for food and drugstore products.

However, according to the study, there are major differences in the area of technology and electronics: Small household appliances such as deep fryers, handheld vacuum cleaners, toasters, hair dryers and blenders fared better and increased slightly. In contrast, IT products - such as PCs, laptops and monitors - and televisions (down eight percent) as well as large household appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers (down six percent) saw a sharp drop in business. According to NIQ, consumers tended to focus on replacing only defective products last year. "Crisis mood and reluctance to buy"

Sara Warneke, Managing Director of the industry organization gfu, is not surprised by the negative trend. "The general uncertainty and the economic situation are leading to a sense of crisis among consumers and a corresponding reluctance to buy." According to market researchers, industry sales in 2023 were significantly higher than the pre-corona level, but electrical retailers generated 11% less turnover than in the previous year.

Retailers point to the unusually high sales in previous years as the cause. During the coronavirus period, consumers made many purchases and brought them forward. As a result, sales volumes have recently fallen significantly. According to the gfu, the number of televisions sold fell by 10.9% to 4.4 million units. Another factor that dampened sales was the rise in prices. Smartphones, cameras and games consoles were on average more than ten percent more expensive than in the previous year. Industry hopes for a better mood

Friedrich Sobol, CEO of the ElectronicPartner group, which includes the EP specialist retailers and Medimax stores, speaks of "challenging times". Due to the economic situation, people have recently shopped more in the lower to medium price segment. Ceconomy, which owns Europe's largest electronics retail chains Media Markt and Saturn, recorded a profit for the past financial year. However, there was "lower customer demand" in Germany.

The industry association gfu expects the market situation to improve in the current year and is targeting an increase in sales of between one and two percent. Benedict Kober, CEO of Euronics Germany, does not expect a full recovery in 2024. This is due to the weakening construction industry and uncertainty on the consumer side. "However, if consumer sentiment brightens significantly due to positive news from politics or major sporting events, for example, there is reason for cautious optimism," says Kober./DP/he