Tech Giants Hope for Better Second Half in Europe

The consumer electronics market in Western Europe will recover in the second half of 2011 from the significant deterioration it witnessed in the first six months, when sales declined by 11.3 percent year-on-year, market research company GfK said in a new report.

Technology giants gathered at the IFA technology fair in Berlin this weekend are keen to stress that their latest products – including internet-enabled TV and 3D TV – are key developments in a rapidly changing market.

But they have struggled in the first half of 2011 and seen much weaker demand than expected as consumers became increasingly unsettled by the euro zone debt crisis and spent cautiously.

The drop in sales in the first six months of 2011 was also attributable to the absence of major sporting events, GfK said.

Last year, the winter Olympic Games and the football world cup provided a major boost.

“We saw unexpected growth in 2010, and growth continues in 2011 but it is slowing down,” Juergen Boyny, Global Director for consumer electronics at GfK Retail and Technology told a press conference at IFA.

The group surveyed consumers in six Western European countries: France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and the UK.

The introduction of HDTV, 3D and internet-capable TVs has so far not been able to prevent a downward trend in TV sales, although the average price of a TV set has declined by 7 percent in comparison with the first half of 2010 and by 39 percent for 3D TVs, GfK said.

GfK, the world’s fourth-largest market research organization, expects sales of 3D televisions to take off in 2011, forecasting that 6.4 million units will be sold in Western Europe in 2011.

That compares with one million units sold in Western Europe in 2010.

Along with 3D and internet-enabled TVs, blu-ray players and home audio systems with integrated docking stations for iPods and other MP3 devices will help to drive growth in the second half of 2011, GfK said in its report.