In-depth: Technical consumer goods market in remission report IFA experts

posted on Saturday, 18th May 2019 by Steve May

4K  Trade  8K  IFA 2019  IFA GPC 2019 


The lid was taken off the global consumer electronics market at the recent IFA Global Press Conference. Market analysts and brand representatives offered candid insights into the trends and technologies which are redefining the CE business, and provided a rare level of context. Naturally, Inside CI was there, frantically taking notes.

The hot take is that the global market for technical consumer goods is largely stable. According to market analyst GfK, demand rose by three per cent in 2018, down from seven per cent in 2017. The forecast for 2019 is just a one per cent rise in the market, giving a market value of 1,052 billion euros.

It breaks down thusly: 44 per cent of the 2019 technical consumer goods market will be generated by telecoms and 17 per cent by appliances. IT will account for 15 per cent. Consumer electronics, including photography products, is forecast to be 15 per cent, with small domestic appliances at nine per cent.

According to the trade body GfU, the CE sector is in a state of remission, but there’s little sign of growth.

Speaking at the IFA GPC, Dr Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin (pictured top), cautioned that “innovation does not happen in a straight or an even pace,” and that ‘Black Swan’ (once in a generation) events are rare. “One Black Swan event was the invention of MP3, it was transformative - and it was first seen at IFA.”


The runaway CE success continues to be headphones. According to GfK the category grew by 37 per cent in 2018, with True Wireless fast gaining in share. Smart speakers are selling in huge numbers, with prices are falling, so overall value is lower. Conversely, the Bluetooth speaker is finding fresh steam, as companies turn to more sophisticated models.

The soundbar business is also growing; it was up 23 per cent between 2015-2018. Over the same period, the multiroom speaker market has boomed by a massive 76 per cent.

When it comes to television, both UHD and OLED in particular are tracking well. In total, 214 million TVs will be sold globally in 2019, at an average price of 422 euros. 108 million of these will be UHD, up 18 per cent year-on-year. The oh-so valuable premium sector will be dominated by OLED, with sales in 2019 expected to account for just over 50 per cent of the market in volume, but 70 per cent of the value.

Digging deeper into the stats, it seems TV buyers in Europe are prepared to pay more than any other region, with an average selling price of 471 euros. North America comes second, at 433 euros on average. In Asia, the average selling price of a TV is lower, at 409 euros. Latin America, comes in a 403 euros and the Middle East and Africa at 379 euros.

Hisense 8k Crop

Just as we’ve seen in smartphones, it seems that Chinese brands are preparing to make the running in the TV market. When it comes to consumption of technical products, China is currently at the same level of Europe. And it seems that consumers are prepared to pay a premium for consumer electronics innovation.

One interesting snipper to emerge from the IFA GPC revolved around german TV brand Metz, now owned by Chinese giant Skyworth. It announced that its Metz Blue TV brand would be rolled out to other territories, in a bid to make it a global player.

The Metz parent brand will launch in China later this year. A household name in German, the Metz brand is largely unknown elsewhere. It was launched back in 1938, and operates out of Bavari.

The Skyworth Group, based in Shenzhen, is a production powerhouse. In 2018 it declared a revenue of 6.2 billion USD, and has 40,000 employees.


Norbert Kotzbauer

In a show of self deprecating humour, Metz CEO Norbert Kotzbauer (pictured above), announced that Skyworth “was one of a number of brand's who are number one in China.”

“4k, 8k, OLED technology is always available to us,” he declared, “but as a global player you need to be driven by volume.”

TV maker TCL used the IFA GPC to outline ambitious plans to grow its brand. The Chinese maker says it has access to a number of leading edge display technologies, such as printed OLED screens, quantum dot and Mini Led backlit sets

Upcoming high-end TCL models include the 65-inch X10s and the 75-inch Q X10S 8k models, both Mini-LED QLED models. 20,000 Mini LED lamps provide 1000 local dimming zones. A number of its top 2019 TVs will also have Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos onboard. Sound systems are supplied by Onkyo. Screen sizes will range from 32- to 85-inches.

TCL has seen solid growth in France and Germany, but has yet to make inroads in the UK. It operates a TV manufacturing facility in Poland. TCL also told IFA GPC delegates that it is looking to audio and air conditioning to grow its business.

Hisense used the IFA GPC to tout its upcoming U9 LED range. Leading the line-up is a 75-inch 8k model. This will debut in China by the end of the year, and is promised in Europe sometime in 2020.

IFA 2019 Berlin runs September 6-11. IFA 2018 attracted 244,000 attendees, including 152,480 trade visitors.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology specialist who also writes for T3TechRadarHome Cinema Choice, Trusted Reviews and The Luxe Review.

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