2020 will be remembered as one of the toughest years both for the tech market and more generally for all the activities that have suffered the effects of the pandemic. There has been a contraction in sales of consumer technology products, but for now it is a lower decline than that of other sectors, as reconfirmed by the data of the GFK report released on the occasion of IFA 2020, In the first six months of sales (in value) decreased by 5.8% globally compared to the same period of the previous year and it is estimated that the global market value (excluding North America and South Africa) has fallen to 306 billion EUR.
To put it differently, the tech market resists, despite everything, and it can be said that the pandemic itself has triggered dynamics that, if on the one hand have attenuated the propensity to purchase of consumers, on the other have relaunched the sales of certain product categories – think, for example, of the technological devices necessary for smart working activities and distance learning. The result is a sector which, despite undeniable losses, is finding a way to remain (at least for the moment) in a state of equilibrium. The considerations at a global level are reflected in the trend of the Italian tech market.
New positive signs are coming from Italy after those recorded at the beginning of the summer: in July the Italian consumer technology market reported a growth of 4.5% in value compared to the same period of 2019; since the beginning of the year, however, there has been a decrease of 1.4% in value. These data bode well for the coming months, without prejudice to the underlying unknown factor linked to the progress of the health emergency that at the moment no one can solve.
The fact that the market is not in a dramatic situation does not mean that the pandemic has not left its mark by changing the purchasing habits of consumers and, as mentioned, the type of products most in demand. In this regard, the GFK report highlights some relevant points of the first half of 2020:
- In the first weeks of the pandemic (remember that in Europe the real emergency occurred between the end of February and the beginning of March), sales of consumer technology plummeted, also due to the closure of shops
- During the lockdown, the need to stay at home supported the sales of products for carrying out smart working activities, dedicated to entertainment or the preservation of food products
- After the lockdown, some growing trends (e.g. those concerning IT devices) remain unchanged due to fears of a second wave
More specifically, the most profitable sectors were:
- IT and Office products:
- IT sector + 17.2% in value in the first six months of 2020
- Office sector + 12.1% in value in the first six months of 2020
- IT and Office sector (overall) + 15% in March and + 15% in April
- In the week between March 9 and April 5 in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Great Britain there was an increase in sales equal to:
- + 297% for webcams
- + 120% for monitors
- + 62% for PCs, laptops and tablets
- During the lockdown, sales of streaming products increased
- Gaming products in the first six months of the year:
- + 55% for gaming PC sales
- + 62% for gaming monitors
- In Europe during the lockdown TV value sales increased (+ 4%)
- Domestic appliances:
- Strong increase in the sale of freezers in the first weeks of the pandemic due to the hoarding of frozen products: eg. + 317% in Great Britain and + 185% in Germany
- In the post lockdown weeks there were increases in sales of products dedicated to food preparation:
- + 8.6% in sales of small household appliances internationally
- + 36.8% in sales of microwave ovens
A negative sign in the first six months of the year instead for the entire consumer electronics sector (including the photo sector) which recorded a drop of 8.7% in value. On the other hand, TV sales collapsed during the lockdown and then recorded an overall decrease of 7% in value (with the aforementioned distinction of the data referring to the European market).