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Panel TV sales soar in SA

Black Friday saw sales of flat screen TVs grow by 66% over the same day last year.

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Panel television sales soared in South Africa during Black Friday week, climbing by 66% to just over 93,000 units when compared to the same week in 2017, according to point of sale tracking data from GfK South Africa’s Weekly Monitor. This builds on the 47% growth over 2016 recorded during the week of Black Friday in 2017.

Retailers sold around 29,000 panel televisions in the week of Cyber Monday (the week after Black Friday), indicating that Black Friday deals are rapidly taking over more of the month of November. On average, retailers sold around 16,000 units per week in the weeks preceding the week of Black Friday.

Over the week of Black Friday, smartphone unit sales grew by around 3.9% compared to the same week last year to just over 350,000 units. This represents a sharp drop in growth from 2017, when smartphone unit sales for the Black Friday week leapt 63% over the same week of 2016. Around 308,000 smartphone units were sold the week after Black Friday 2018. During the weeks preceding Black Friday, South African retailers sold an average of 220,000 smartphone units a week.

“Hype about panel television sales has definitively shifted from December to November as consumers look out for the best Black Friday deals before committing their money,” says Kali Moahloli, Head of Sales & Retail, at GfK South Africa. “Compared to two Black Fridays ago, 2018 Black Friday panel TV sales have grown by 151% in units.”

Other highlights from GfK’s point of sale data for Black Friday week include:

  • Entry-level smartphones (less than R1000) accounted for 36.5% of units sold, but only 8.4% of the value of smartphone sales during Black Friday week.
  • Premium phones (R7000 and above) accounted for a mere 8.5% of unit sales, but comprised 43.6% of the value of sales rung up during Black Friday week.
  • Intermediate and mid-tier units (R1000 to R6999) made up 55% of unit sales and around 48% of the value of smartphone sales recorded during Black Friday week.
  • Entry-level models (less than R3000) had a 42.8% share of panel TV unit sales, but accounted for only 19.7% of revenues for Black Friday week.
  • Premium models (R6500 and above) made up a quarter of panel TV unit sales during Black Friday week 2018 and more than half (52.7%) of panel TV revenues for the week.
  • Mid-tier and intermediate models (R3000-R6499) made up around a third of panel TV unit sales for the week and around 27.6% of revenues.

“Slower smartphone sales growth can be attributed to consumers taking strain from a weak economy and from the gradual saturation of the market,” says Moahloli. “December is traditionally a stronger month for smartphone sales than November, which is unlike the panel TV market where sales trend downwards after Black Friday. We could see good data deals from the operators help boost growth ahead of the festive season.”

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Millennials turning 40: NOW will you stop targeting them?

It’s one of the most overused terms in youth marketing, and probably the most inaccurate, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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One of the most irritating buzzwords embraced by marketers in recent years is the term “millennial”. Most are clueless about its true meaning, and use it as a supposedly cool synonym for “young adults”. The flaw in this targeting – and the word “flaw” here is like calling the Grand Canyon a trench – is that it utterly ignores the meaning of the term. “Millennials” are formally defined as anyone born from 1980 to 2000, meaning they have typically come of age after the dawn of the millennium, or during the 21st century.

Think about that for a moment. Next year, the millennial will be formally defined as anyone aged from 20 to 40. So here you have an entire advertising, marketing and public relations industry hanging onto a cool definition, while in effect arguing that 40-year-olds are youths who want the same thing as newly-minted university graduates or job entrants.

When the communications industry discovers just how embarrassing its glib use of the term really is, it will no doubt pivot – millennial-speak for “changing your business model when it proves to be a disaster, but you still appear to be cool” – to the next big thing in generational theory.

That next big thing is currently Generation Z, or people born after the turn of the century. It’s very convenient to lump them all together and claim they have a different set of values and expectations to those who went before. Allegedly, they are engaged in a quest for experience, compared to millennials – the 19-year-olds and 39-olds alike – supposedly all on a quest for relevance.

In reality, all are part of Generation #, latching onto the latest hashtag trend that sweeps social media, desperate to go viral if they are producers of social content, desperate to have caught onto the trend before their peers.

The irony is that marketers’ quest for cutting edge target markets is, in reality, a hangover from the days when there was no such thing as generational theory, and marketing was all about clearly defined target markets. In the era of big data and mass personalization, that idea seems rather quaint.

Indeed, according to Grant Lapping, managing director of DataCore Media, it no longer matters who brands think their target market is.

“The reason for this is simple: with the technology and data digital marketers have access to today, we no longer need to limit our potential target audience to a set of personas or segments derived through customer research. While this type of customer segmentation was – and remains – important for engagements across traditional above-the-line engagements in mass media, digital marketing gives us the tools we need to target customers on a far more granular and personalised level.

“Where customer research gives us an indication of who the audience is, data can tell us exactly what they want and how they may behave.”

Netflix, he points out, is an example of a company that is changing its industry by avoiding audience segmentation, once the holy grail of entertainment.

In other words, it understands that 20-year-olds and 40-year-olds are very different – but so is everyone in between.

* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee

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Robots coming to IFA

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Robotics is no longer about mechanical humanoids, but rather becoming an interface between man and machine. That is a key message being delivered at next month’s IFA consumer electronics expo in Berlin. An entire hall will be devoted to IFA Next, which will not only offer a look into the future, but also show what form it will take.

The concepts are as varied as the exhibitors themselves. However, there are similarities in the various products, some more human than others, in the fascinating ways in which they establish a link between fun, learning and programming. In many cases, they are aimed at children and young people.

The following will be among the exhibitors making Hall 26 a must-visit:

Leju Robotics (Stand 115) from China is featuring what we all imagine a robot to be. The bipedal Aelos 1s can walk, dance and play football. And in carrying out all these actions it responds to spoken commands. But it also challenges young researchers to apply their creativity in programming it and teaching it new actions. And conversely, it also imparts scholastic knowledge.

Cubroid (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Korea starts off by promoting an independent approach to the way it deals with tasks. Multi-functional cubes, glowing as they play music, or equipped with a tiny rotating motor, join together like Lego pieces. Configuration and programming are thus combined, providing a basic idea of what constitutes artificial intelligence.

Spain is represented by Ebotics (Stand 218). This company is presenting an entire portfolio of building components, including the “Mint” educational program. The modular system explains about modern construction, programming and the entire field of robotics.

Elematec Corporation (Stand 208) from Japan is presenting the two-armed SCARA, which is not intended to deal with any tasks, but in particular to assist people with their work.

Everybot (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Japan approaches the concept of robotics by introducing an autonomous floor-cleaning machine, similar to a robot vacuum cleaner.

And Segway (Stand 222) is using a number of products to explain the modern approach to battery-powered locomotion.

IFA will take place at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds (ExpoCenter City) from 6 to 11 September 2019. For more information, visit www.ifa-berlin.com

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