Opinion: UK shoppers fuelling growth of the consumer electronics industry

Staying ahead of trends, spending time getting to know customers and considering how retailers can meet their individual needs will help retailers make the most of their marketplace opportunity says Keith Metcalfe, head of Electronics Business Development, eBay UK

It’s a well-known fact that in today’s tech-savvy age, shoppers of all generations are splashing out on electronics – from mobile phones and tablets through to drones and speakers powered by AI. According to a new report published by the team at eBay, almost a quarter (23 per cent) of all new businesses that registered on the marketplace in the last year have been in the consumer electronics sector. 

So how can you make your business – whatever its size – stand out from the crowd? I first recommend that you stay ahead of trends. Keeping up with the Jones’s may be an old adage, but when it comes to trendsetting in the tech sector it’s never been more appropriate. Rather than focussing on the brightest, newest and flashiest tech, consumers’ shopping patterns come in distinct waves, and the smallest trigger can set off a new trend. 

The passion for nostalgia and retro tech is very much alive in the UK today. After Nokia announced a comeback of its 3310 model earlier this year, Nintendo has announced the return of the SNES. In fact, after Apple revealed it was ending support for the iPhone 5 and 5c handsets, sales shot up by 79 per cent on eBay. Shoppers simply can’t get their hands on enough retro goods, and as a seller, managing your inventory accordingly is key.

It is also important to know your customers. Tapping into trends is well and good, but knowing the audience you’re selling to is even more important. As well as using demographics, use the data from online platforms to really get under the skin of your customers. 

Use insights on shopper behaviour to help you to really understand who your customers are. Being able to distinguish a die-hard photography fiend from a casual holiday snapper in need of a new camera won’t only win you a sale, but potentially a new customer for life. 

And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, is to look for the diamond in the rough.

Consumer appetite for technology is growing, but not everyone wants to shell out for the very latest and greatest gadgets. From students in need of a bargain laptop, to parents looking for a great value-for-money smartphone for their children, sellers of consumer electronics are finding opportunity in inventory that offers outstanding value to customers – like refurbished stock. 

By identifying consumers who are receptive to refurbished tech, sellers have become part of the circular economy by keeping old appliances in circulation. Not only does this reduce the impact of the tech industry on the environment but it also gives customers the opportunity to bag a bargain in the process. 

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