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​Bigger and better: Australians go premium when buying technology

Australians are after bigger screen sizes when it comes to buying technology, with retailers seeing an increase in the sales of large-screen smartphones and big-screen TVs. But while consumers are still spending money when it comes to new electronics, demand isn't what it used to be.


Latest figures from analyst group GfK Retail and Technology show a few key areas capturing consumer attention when it comes to buying tech. The IT space has seen an improvement thanks to increased tablet sales, while the telecommunications sector has been lifted by demand for smartphones.

The boost to smartphones is a turnaround for the sector -- Australian consumers have had a seemingly insatiable appetite for phones for several years, but demand fell for the first time at the end of 2013. GfK's figures show that customers are heading back to buy phones, but the desire for the latest model is not what it once was.

That said, when we're going into stores to buy, we're after bigger and better phones.

According to GfK retail analyst Gwenno Hopkin, "the increased share of premium priced phones was a key factor" in the telco sector bouncing back after its pre-Christmas slump in 2013.

"Premium phones have brought a range of high-end features into the market," Hopkin said. "The majority of phones purchased in Q1 came with a 4G connection... [and] bigger screens were also more prevalent, as a quarter of all phones purchased had a screen that was 5 inches or larger."

That interest in big screen sizes carried across to TVs -- a category that has seen its fair share of ups and downs in recent years, and one that has driven plenty of change in the Consumer Electronics space as a whole.

Australians bought fewer TVs at the start of 2014, but "the demand for super-large screens remained strong", according to Hopkin, with a third of all TVs purchased in Q1 measuring 50 inches or larger.

"Whilst still in its early stages, with most of the major players' 2014 models yet to enter the market, 4K/UHD is another area to show strong revenue growth," Hopkin added.

And when it comes to audio, Bluetooth is still king: devices with wireless docking capabilities accounted for half of the money Australians spent on audio in the last three months. This is down to an increase in the number of consumers using their mobiles for music, and to more brands and styles coming into stores.