With consumer electronics retailers coming off of one of their strongest reported sales months since last year, and their anticipating strong traffic and performance entering tax return season, the Dealerscope CE Retail Confidence Index continued its strong rebound entering April. For the second month in a row, the DS Index set a record for single-month gains, rising more than 24 points entering the second quarter of the year. The 199.78 confidence score that retailers reported is also a three-year high for this month, marking the first time a 2019 confidence score wasn’t the lowest on record for any particular month.
Retailers confidence arose from a number of factors, including improving weather conditions across the country, the upcoming Easter holiday, early Father’s Day and Grad gift purchases, and of course the economic boost provided by tax returns as the April 15 deadline approaches.
The major boost in confidence also resulted in significant gains to retailer’s expectations of increased foot and online traffic. Foot traffic rose to its highest total since the start of 2018, while online traffic continued its climb back up for the second month in a row.
And the positive confidence news was only boosted by the fact that retailers saw their sales goal performance rebound as well. After a three month streak of near (or exact) 50-50 splits between missing and/or hitting or exceeding their sales goals, retailers saw that figure improve to a 73-27 split. Broken down further, that 73 percent figure wasn’t quite as impressive as it seems with 53 percent of retailers reporting that they simply hit their sales goal while just 20 percent exceeded their goal—but it’s a marked improvement over the sales performance of recent months.
Products Bounce Back
Of course, with the improved overall DS Index score, the products that help contribute to the underlying algorithm saw major gains entering April as well. The average score per product entering this month hadn’t exceeded 6.0 since January, when it was an even 7—the trailing two months checked in at 5.79 (February) and 5.91 (March). For April, that figure shot up to 6.84. Seven of the 13 products that we survey for in the DS Index report saw their month-over-month scores increase by at least a point, and the Smartphone category saw its score jump by more than 2 points. For eight of the 13 categories, April was their best-performing month so far in 2019.
Only two categories—Car Tech and VR—experienced a confidence drop in April.
Looking ahead, the DS Index provides us with plenty of excitement as we near the halfway mark of 2019. But looking at the historical performance of the survey, we know that these next few months are something of a coin flip for the industry. Q2 provided mixed results over the past two years of this survey, though each year to date we’ve seen a major summertime dip. So, with confidence apparently soaring right now, we’ll look to see if the consumer electronics retail industry can keep this momentum rolling.