According to Twice Magazine – the indispensable CE insider rag – and the U.S. Census Bureau, both electronics and appliance retailers saw a 1.7% uptick in year-over-year sales last month. The April haul totaled $8.3bn, on a roughly even keel with the previous month of March.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) chief economist, Jack Kleinhenz, has attributed the gains to a solid job market, recent wage increases, higher consumer confidence, and the ‘stimulative effect’ of tax cuts on household spending, reveals Twice. Kleinhenz believes that these increased sales factors should help to offset bumpy financial markets, bouts of ‘extreme’ weather, and the surge in gasoline prices.
Back in February of this year, the NRF projected that a strong economy and ‘confident’ consumers would contribute to fueling retail sales gains in 2018 to the order of 3.8 – 4.4%, while business is predicted to be more robust for online and direct sellers, who should expect to see a sales increase of between 10 and 12%. NRF went on to note that wage and job growth, continued low unemployment and a 2.5 – 3.0% increase in GDP were the drivers of these figures.
The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) mirrored the NRF’s projections, foreseeing a 3.9% increase in sales of electronics products this year, growing to a record $351bn. The CTA also predicted at CES that unit volume would increase in 2018 by 6.6% to 715 million tech items sold, driven by demand for smart speakers, drones, wearables, and smart home and virtual reality (VR) products.
This positive outlook follows strong overall consumer sales in 2017, which saw a 3.9% growth of 3.9% to $3.5 trillion – a figure excluding auto dealers, gas stations and restaurants – as revealed by the U.S Census Bureau.