ECONOMY

Small gadgets are in

Consumer interest is increasingly focusing on small electrical appliances which have an attractive design, offer a range of features and often help save time in daily chores. In the first eight months of the year, up to the end of August, the specific market gained 17.5 percent in terms of value and 14.9 percent in terms of number of items sold. A survey by GFK, the world’s number-five market research organization, showed that in the first eight months of 2007, the number of small electrical appliances sold amounted to 1,567,800, compared to 1,364,398 year-on-year. Turnover jumped to -99.7 million, against -84.8 million in the same period in 2006. A leader in sales was undoubtedly air- conditioning units which, owing to the hot summer months, skyrocketed by 88.2 percent, to -153.4 million compared to 81.6 million last year. The number of air conditioners sold stood at 306,874, up 62.3 percent year-on-year. In the period 2000-2005, demand for appliances of this types was on the decline as a result of cooler summers and consumers’ preference for cheaper equipment. This had naturally led to a drop in the total value of the specific segment of the market. However, as a result of the low quality and high propensity to malfunction of cheaper air conditioners, consumer preferences shifted to better brands, allowing the market to recover. In terms of demand, second place in the small electrical appliances market is occupied by razors and epilators, with combined sales rising to -5.3 million, or 22.3 percent up, corresponding to 103,372 devices (up 34.2 percent). The strong growth was driven primarily by epilator sales, as special models of these hair removal devices are now also addressed to men. Electric kettle sales had a negative impact on the market, influenced to some extent by fashion trends. For until recently, an electric kettle could be included in the top preferences of consumers looking for a wedding present, but its popularity has now been replaced by other appliances, such as coffee machines and other small domestic appliances. Particular growth in recent years has been recorded in the sub-market of kitchen appliances and coffee machines, reflecting a shift in consumer preferences and a desire to enjoy certain products, e.g. espresso coffee, at home.