Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/24/2014 -- Croatian spending on consumer electronics has been constrained in 2012 and 2013 as the economic recovery remains sluggish. Recently released data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics showed that retail sales declined by 0.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) in October, from a 0.5% y-o-y contraction the previous month, supporting our view that a significant recovery in private consumption remains some way off. Although we expect domestic demand to recover gradually over the long term, as the country's modest economic recovery begins translating into a slight in improvement in household disposable incomes, low wage growth, economic uncertainty and low lending from banks should ensure that any recovery in domestic demand remains sluggish over the coming quarters. Even with these challenges, we expect growth to remain positive across all three segments of the market, with spending driven by several underlying trends. Demand for consumer lifestyle products such as smartphones, tablets, Smart TV sets and Wi-Fi enabled digital cameras will be the areas of fastest growth. The launch of Croatia's first national smartphones from HG Spot and M Sans Group in H213 could also be a contributor to growth.
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Headline Expenditure Projections
Computer Hardware Sales: US$824mn in 2012 to US$867mn in 2013; +5.2% in US dollar terms. Weak economic conditions are limiting big-ticket purchases, while the shift in the composition of sales to cheaper tablets is an additional squeeze on the growth of sales value.
AV Sales: US$256mn in 2012 to US$266mn in 2013; +3.8% in US dollar terms. The UEFA Euro-2012 tournament and the London Olympics provided a boost to demand for flat-screen TV sets last year.
Handset Sales: US$228mn in 2012 to US$247mn in 2013; +8.2% in US dollar terms. The handset market is expected to fare better in a challenging macro environment due to lower average selling prices and the support provided by operator smartphone sales as they look to generate value from their wireless data network investments.
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