Current trends in technical consumer goods markets

Chinese e-commerce growth is reaching a plateau, according to market analysts GfK. On a regional level, APAC and China are, of course, the world’s key markets for online sales. Historically Chinese e-commerce retailers have enjoyed signi cant double-digit growth, but in the past twelve months, growth rates have fallen. While the total online market for technical consumer goods in China grew by 8%, the major domestic appliances and consumer electronics sectors experienced their rst negative rates in the online channel. Despite the share of e-commerce reaching another high of 36% of the turnover, slowing growth created a plateau effect. Chinese retailers have reacted with partnerships and mergers with traditional retailers.

Between January and June 2019, GfK recorded total sales of €7.9bn for the global audio devices market, excluding North America. Largest contributors are the CIS countries with a 41% increase, and China – up 38%. In-ear headphones saw a steady sales value growth of 55% in the rst half of this year, accounting for sales volume of nearly €3bn for 70% of the total headphone turnover. China is by far the largest market, followed by the Western European and Developed Asian countries.

The demand for mobile PCs declined by 5% in units in the first half year of 2019. Only the Chinese market managed to grow (+2% in unit terms), while Western Europe and APAC (excluding China) declined by 6% in unit sales. However, due to the importance of performance and lifestyle/premium for the consumers, reflected in higher price points, the market for notebooks increased by 1% to reach nearly €18bn. China’s increase of 7% contributed the most to that growth, while Western Europe fell by 1%.

Looking at the regions, in the rst half of 2019, the MDA market experienced a recovery in Brazil (+13%) and a strong uptake in India (+10%). Europe remained on a growth track contributing to the biggest part of absolute Euro growth. However, a 6.2% decline in China was a major reason for the overall market slowdown. As China is such a large market, the other regions have struggled to offset its declines in market value. Therefore, looking at full year results in 2019, it is clear that market performance will depend on the fluctuating Chinese market and its trade tensions with the US.
A more recent and substantial trend is steam-supported appliances which generate multiple use cases, from improved drying in dishwashers to fewer creases in laundry, to healthier cooking. Globally, steam-assisted products jumped to a growth rate of 41% in the rst half of 2019. Currently China and India are embracing this trend, which promises future growth.
Smart appliances are usually equated with the benefit of simplification. All regions reveal strong growth in sales of smart appliances, with the one exception – China. Looking at the global picture excluding China, smart appliances grew by 18% in turnover.

Looking at the first half of 2019 on a regional level, China, with total sales of close to €8.5bn is the largest market, closely followed by Western Europe. However, sales in China, the former global growth engine, declined by 12% year- on-year in the first half. The ratio between online and of ine sales in China in the rst half of 2019 was at almost 50/50.


  • €7.9bn for the global audio devices market, excluding North America
  • 55% In-ear headphones saw a steady sales value growth of 55%