Australian sales of digital lifestyle products hit a record A$3.6 billion last year, according to a new analyst report.
The latest ‘Canon Digital Lifestyle Index’ (CDLI), compiled by GfK analysts, found total sales leapt 36.8% compared to the previous year.
Project manager Angus Macaskill says this was achieved despite a significant fall in average prices across most product categories.
Photo printer prices fell furthest, dropping by an average of 52.8% to less than A$110.
GfK attributed this to increased product distribution, as well as camera and photo printer bundling in the retail sector. Average plasma TV prices also dropped 30%.
Macaskill says market growth of more than 30% in each of the past two years, despite falling prices, shows that consumers are spending enormous amounts of money in a market that didn't exist just three to four years ago.
The good news for sellers, he says, is that consumers are no longer waiting two to three years to upgrade existing digital products.
Macaskill estimates a third of consumers purchasing digital cameras in the past year already owned a model. Improved consumer understanding of digital products and their compatibility also helped push sales. This is evident in the corresponding rise in photo printer and digital still camera sales, widescreen TVs and DVD recorders.
Digital still cameras continued to be the most popular product, with almost two million units sold in the second half of 2005. These amount to A$471 million or 22% of total spend.
According to Macaskill, one in every three Australian adults now owns a digital camera.
Plasma TV sales reached A$440 million and account for 20% of spending, while LCD TVs sales trebled compared to the same six-month period a year earlier to hit A$234.5 million. Digital media players have also seen significant growth, accounting for 16% of market spend.
"Digital media players are enormous. In the first half of last year , sales were ten times those of the previous year," Macaskill says. "This was off a small base but we still saw a 215% jump in the second half when these products were already selling by the boat load."
The introduction of Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP) has helped keep game consoles on the must-have list, he says, with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and the as-yet-unscheduled release of PlayStation 3 expected to see sales spike.