Lithuanian consumers are extremely slow in their reaction to technological novelties and usually buy time-tested (read, discounted) merchandise. Not only do market research consultants say so, but local salespeople too, 15min.lt reports.
When it comes to technology trade, the biggest trend setters are Japan, South Korea, the US, and Western Europe. Their populations are usually the first to acquire new gadgets, they are open to trying fresh technologies and are willing to open their purses for newest inventions.
Tablet computer boom
Whatever Westerners buy today, Lithuanians are likely to be buying one or two years later, says Jurgen Boyny, consumer electronics head for market research company GfK Retail and Technology. He presented the new trends of the European market at IFA Global Press Conference in Croatia.
Whatever Westerners buy today, Lithuanians are likely to be buying one or two years later.
Central and Eastern European countries lag about 12 to 15 months behind Western Europe. Russia and Ukraine are around 20 months late, while India – about three years,” Boyny said.
For instance, the tablet computer boom started in the US and Canada back in 2010. Last year, sales were still going up, but less sharply. Western Europe discovered tablets last year, while here, it is only now that people start showing interest. “If Western Europe starts buying large-screen TVs, your region will start buying them in several years. The same goes for other market sections,” Boyny notes.
Buying what one likes
Lithuanian traders nod in agreement – consumers usually buy time-tested, well-established models when they get cheaper. Therefore local retailers look at products of known brands that have been established in the global market for at least six to twelve months. Unknown brands only stand a chance if sold cheaply.
“Lithuanians tend more towards middle to low-range goods, as they still cannot afford upmarket prices that technical innovations usually fall under. Therefore sales only go up once we lower the prices,” says Dainius Liulys, director of on-line store Pigu.lt (“pigu” meaning “cheap” in Lithuanian).
The most marked delay is in products of completely new kind – smartphones or tablet computers, for example. The lag may last up to two years. The main reasons for it – hefty prices and lack of information about the products.
Income determines spending
According to Liulys, Lithuanians spend most on TVs and laptop computers. On-line shoppers also buy many mobile phones.
“The three categories are strongly-established. The rest depends on seasons. With summer approaching, there’s a hike in refrigerator and freezer sales as well as cameras, vacuum cleaners. Later, towards autumn, people buy ovens, kitchen equipment,” Liulys says.
“The world is flat and whatever is available in the US, is almost concurrently available in Lithuania – it usually depends on the expedition of shop managers and distributors. The only difference is in market size and ecosystem circumstances that naturally affect supply range and sales figures,” says Ruslanas Kovaliovas, Elektromarkt board chairman.
Propsects for e-sales
Jurgen Boyny of GfK notes that, in economically developed countries, increasingly much trade goes on on-line – internet shopping chops off 1 or 2 percent of the market each year. Last year, Western European on-line sales share made up 15.5 percent, mostly in IT and photography products.
“Lithuanian e-sales market is still very small, it accounts to mere 2 percent of total retail. But we see it almost doubling each year. Several years ago, only one in ten Lithuanians had bought something on-line, while today the figure has risen three-fold,” Liulys says.