IT has been the fastest-growing sector in the UK retail durables space in the past 12 months, despite the market posting widespread declines during the period.
According to figures from GfK, in the 12 months to the end of October total durables sales fell 3.4 per cent annually to £36.1bn. IT, alongside both major and small domestic appliances, was one of only three areas to see a market expansion during the period, and was comfortably the fastest growing, with revenue up 6.8 per cent to £7.4bn.
IT has shown a good deal of resilience during the past two years, having posted month-on-month market declines in only six of the past 26 months. In four of these instances sales fell just one per cent.
The picture has been much bleaker in the consumer electronics space, with sales in the year to the end of October down 16 per cent annually to £6.1bn. The market has not enjoyed sequential monthly growth in any of the previous 26 months, with double-digit declines reported on 20 occasions.
The telecoms space has also been severely challenged, with 17 consecutive month-on-month market contractions between April 2011 and September 2012. In the 12-month period up to the start of last month sales were down 14.3 per cent to £2.5bn.
The GfK report does not provide much Christmas cheer for the overall durables market, claiming that consumers are likely to take a frugal approach to the festive season.
"With key market-boosting events such as the Olympics now forgotten by many, attention will be on the important Christmas shopping season," says the report. As quarter four progresses however, there is little to be cheery about so far.
"Consumer confidence remains low and, faced with the prospect of increasing energy bills in the run-up to the festive period, cash-strapped shoppers will question whether they can afford to splash out."
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