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According to a recent Eurostat study, Bulgaria, a market of 7.3 million people, has the least expensive consumer goods, including audio-visual technologies, in the European Union. Bulgarians have the lowest income in the EU with monthly minimum wage set at 135 EURO ($171). The Bulgarian market for audio-visual technologies, including but not limited to TVs, audio equipment, monitors, laptops, and phones, exceeded $650 million in 2011.
Current Market Trends and Demands
Bulgarian customers are focused on high quality products at affordable prices with improved warranty terms. They tend to pay more for products that promise longer-term use of products. In addition, the economic crisis has increased the sensitivity of consumers not only to price but also to the terms and conditions of sale such as after-sales service, extended warranty, additional services.In the medium terms, the sales volume of audio-visual technologies may increase due to digitalization and the consumers' interest in LCD TVs and Blu-ray players.
This segment of the market will continue to develop and is expected to reach $293 million by 2012. Currently about 10% of the sales of AV equipment in Bulgaria occurs online. This figure may not take into account sales of smaller online retailers, some of which may be part of the grey economy. In Bulgaria, typically, the sales volume during the week before Christmas is five times higher than the average weekly sales figures and in December retailers generate twice the profit than any other month in the year.One market segment did see an uptake in 2011 and that was the market for smart phones and tablet computers. These two products, in particular, led to a 2 percent increase in overall sales for computers and mobile phones 2011. The market for ordinary mobile phones and computers has remained at the level 2010 according to the statistical data of the Bulgarian Retail Association.
Most Popular Products
The most popular products in the audio-visual sector in Bulgaria are personal computers, including laptops, TVs, mobile phones, home cinema equipment, cameras. Half of the annual turnover of the consumer electronics market is generated by sales of personal computers (including netbooks) and the necessary accessories for them. Samsung and LG are the most popular brands for TVs. 32-inch TVs continue to be the preferred size among Bulgarians. However, there is a clear tendency for the consumers to be attracted by 37 and 42 inch-TVs. These larger sizes are expected to become the most popular among Bulgarians over the next year. Plasma TVs are already predominantly 42-inch products. 3D technology is still new and these TVs have not yet entered the daily life of most Bulgarian customers. In 2011, consumption of this product was influenced by negative reviews of this technology. Next year retailers expect customer interest in 3D products to recover and some growth in the market is expected.
Technomarket, Technopolis, and Zora are the three largest retailers of audio-visual technologies in Bulgaria, and their portfolio covers the entire range of AV products for consumers.Metro and Densi are also large retailers of audio-visual products.Multirama, and Plesio are focused mainly on laptops, monitors, TVs, games and mobile phones, and accessories.Germanos, Handy, and Jeff are the major market players for mobile phones and accessories as well as for portable computers and cameras.
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