Compared with value sales, the number of outlets in the Germany electronics retailers market declined even faster, with a 3% decline in 2012. Openings of new outlets were rare, and many outlet closures of small competitors were seen. Due to the saturation of the channel, outlets must have a certain size in order for a player to be competitive. For instance, the traditional domestic chain Vobis had to close a third of its 30 outlets in 2012, since it was unable to compete with the leading brands in terms of the range of products and sophisticated pricing strategies. Closures also affected many independent competitors with only one outlet.
Consumer appliances saw a stronger performance than consumer electronics. This was due to the strong demand for new low-energy household appliances. Revenues in consumer appliances were thus boosted by the premium prices that could be demanded for products with energy-efficiency grade A++, or even with the new grade A+++, which was introduced by the European Union in 2011. Volume sales of consumer appliances, however, were limited by the low demand from new households, with most purchases being replacement purchases for old appliances which were not working any longer or which were outdated.
Electronics and appliance specialist retailers continued to be dominated by national retailers in 2012. The channel is already saturated, with many German retailers trying to expand internationally in an attempt to increase their value sales. For international players to enter this channel in Germany they would have to offer even lower prices than their German counterparts, and manage to secure good locations with a high population density. Therefore, during the latter part of the review period there were no key new entrants with a significant impact on the category, either international or domestic.
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