Europeans increase technology purchases during COVID-19 confinement

Monitors, printers, notebooks and keyboards are the product categories that have grown the most in five major European markets, as highlighted by the numbers of GfK Portugal for the period between March 9 and April 5. The data result from the analysis of the consultant that collects numbers on sales of 300 categories of durable and technological consumer goods at more than 2,000 points of sale, located in more than 70 countries worldwide.

"The current paradigm of social isolation has led to a significant increase in the sale of hardware and technological equipment. This shift from a greater use of technology visible in various areas of human life, namely at work, at meals and even at home entertainment" , refers GfK in the analysis of the global market for technological consumer goods in several European countries.

More time spent at home gave rise to a greater demand for televisions, game consoles, computers and notebooks and even food was a reason for changes in consumers' purchasing behavior, with an increase in the number of sales of refrigerators and freezers.

The trend had already been identified in Portugal, with the growth of some product categories, as well as online shopping, which still do not compensate for the volume that was lost in store sales.

Everything for teleworking and distance learning

According to data shared by GfK, working at home increased sales of monitors (+ 120%), printers (+ 68%), notebooks (+ 62%) and keyboards (+ 61%) in five major European markets. Webcams had the highest sales growth (+ 297%).

"Eating meals at home has put consumers with a mindset of hoarding, which was reflected in the increase in purchases of freezers and freezers to store food ", says the consultant. Between March 9 and April 5, sales of freezers in Great Britain grew 317% over the year In Germany, these goods increased by 185% and France grew by 44%.

The home entertainment segment also accelerated technology sales. According to GfK, at the beginning of the period of social isolation, sales of streaming devices and boxes increased by 50% in some markets. In Britain, television sales increased by 31%, with consumers buying extra cheaper models to reconcile different viewing habits.

Game consoles also benefited, with sales units over 259% in Great Britain, 139% in Germany, 132% in France, 108% in Spain and 65% in Italy.

Gaming notebooks follow the same trend, achieving robust two-digit growth over the same period, ranging from 33% (Italy) to 92% (Spain). In Germany, France and Spain, this category even went beyond "normal" portables in terms of unit growth rates.

Online sales still do not make up for in-store losses

With stores closed and a large part of the European population confined to their homes since mid-March, online sales have grown significantly, but still do not compensate for the loss of value in store.

Between March 31 and April 5 sales online grew by almost 100% in the five largest markets in Europe (Great Britain, Germany, France, Spain and Italy). Even so, the general market still fell 14% in value.

"GfK's analysis shows that sales online they should quadruple to compensate for store closures and, in fact, current consumption is very far from that value. In Italy, for example, the victories in the e-commerce only compensated, about 30% of the losses of the traditional retail ", says the statement of the company.

How to get out of social isolation and how normality will be installed is the big question. "This will require more time, as the example of China shows: even 10 weeks after the first period of total isolation, sales of physical stores are still significantly behind what would be the 'old normal'," says GfK.

To be sure, users are avoiding indoor locations, and that this is likely to continue.

Editor's Note: The news has been updated with more information.

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