The challenging economic conditions in Bulgaria mean we expect difficult trading conditions to persist in many segments of Bulgaria's consumer electronics market in 2013. Declining house prices, which create a negative wealth effect and lower consumer confidence, are set to keep household spending subdued. However, growing affordability will drive consumer electronics purchases in key areas such as tablets and smartphones, while prices of other products such as notebooks and flat-panel TV will also become more affordable. Growth areas in 2013 will include smartphones, TV sets and tablets; however, it should be noted that some of this growth will occur at the expense of other device categories, for instance notebooks.
Headline Expenditure Projections
Computer Sales: US$642mn in 2012 to US$670mn in 2013, +4.4% in US dollar terms. Forecast lowered slightly in Q4 2013 due to the slower than expected sales of desktops and notebooks, which is not fully compensated for by the growth in tablet sales.
AV Sales: US$363mn in 2012 to US$387mn in 2013, +7% in US dollar terms. Forecast in US dollar terms upwardly revised, with TV sets expected to provide the most dynamic development.
Handset Sales: US$264mn in 2012 to US$290mn in 2013, +10% in US dollar terms. Forecast in US dollar terms unchanged, with smartphones the main revenue growth driver as a wider array of mid-range devices arrive in the market.
Key Trends & Developments
- PC sales are undergoing a period of transition as consumption shifts towards tablets. Desktop and notebook sales volumes are in decline across Central and Eastern Europe, with Bulgaria no exception. Part of the explanation for the decline is the weak economic environment; however, consumers opting for tablets is the primary driver of the trend.
- Tablets enjoyed rapid growth in the Bulgarian market, with a 50-fold increase in sales of the devices at the Multirama chain of consumer electronics retail stores in 2012. BMI expects tablets to comprise above 40% of notebook sales by 2017.
- In the handset market ,smartphones' share of revenue is projected to equal that of feature phones by 2013, and to reach 70% by the end of the forecast period. The share of subscribers to Bulgarian mobile operator Vivacom's network that use smartphones has passed 50%. The key driver of smartphone growth in Bulgaria is the availability of mid-range smartphones (or featurephones), that have mass market appeal due to lower prices.
- Bulgaria's transition towards digital TV will reach an important milestone on September 1 2013 when the country is due to switch off analogue broadcasting, and this should provide a boost to the AV market. The main AV growth area will be digital products such as flat-panel TV sets, which have become increasingly popular with consumers. As overall TV set sales have fallen, vendors and retailers have looked to product innovation to support revenue, with the introduction of LED-backlit TV sets, 3D TV and smart TV sets.