The office equipment and stationery market boomed 55% in the first eight months of 2020, while the IT market grew by 8%, as the Covid-19 pandemic radically affected spending priorities, according to new research from GfK South Africa.
The PC, tablet, smartphone and small domestic appliance sectors were the bright spots in a South African technical consumer goods market that saw revenues fall 7% for the period January to August 2020 compared to a year ago, according to point-of-sale tracking data from GfK.
“The new normal of working and eating at home under lockdown helped to drive strong performance in the IT and small domestic appliance segments. Consumers snapped up appliances for making quick meals and drinks, including toasters, sandwich makers, coffee machines and microwaves,” said GfK head of market insights Nicolet Pienaar in a statement.
However, the telecommunications market was down 13% in rand terms. But this masked robust entry-level smartphone shipment volumes as consumers traded up from feature phones to Internet-ready devices.
“Performance for content-creation devices such as laptops and tablets was strong, since sharing a device between people in the household was not an option in a time of remote working and home schooling,” Pienaar said. “The pandemic is also accelerating an already-strong trend towards ‘hometainment’ with consumers staying home for safety and the ability to make sophisticated entertainment choices.”
IT up 47%
Aggressive retail promotions and the easing of the lockdown to level 2 in August helped to drive strong performance for the month compared to the same period in 2019. The total technical goods market was up 15% year on year, with small domestic appliances growing 37%, office equipment and stationery up 83%, major domestic appliances up 24%, consumer electronics up 21% and IT up 47%.
GfK said consumer purchases during lockdown helped lift market penetration of computing devices among online consumers in South Africa. From 2019 to 2020, market penetration among these consumers increased from:
- 78% to 91% for smartphones;
- 40% to 52% for laptops;
- 36% to 39% for tablets; and
- 25% to 29% for gaming consoles
“Many households needed to invest in a second device for the home to support remote working and online schooling. The media tablet market bounced back after several years of decline, with people looking for a bigger screen for online content consumption and creation. In a marked shift, we also saw people favouring mid-tier PCs over entry-level models, which have traditionally dominated the South African market,” Pienaar said.
High demand for panel televisions — especially 32-inch and 40-inch models — helped to drive the value and volume uplift in consumer electronics for August 2020. – © 2020 NewsCentral Media