Norwegians gadget crazy

Technology hungry Norwegians set records as they spent NOK 23.6 billion (USD 3.7 billion) in 2004 on televisions, mobile phones, music systems, DVD-players, stylish radios, computers and other electronic goods.

Turnover increased by 19.7 percent compared to the previous record set in 2003 according to figures from the electronics industry.

Norwegians spent NOK 7.9 billion (USD 1.2 billion) on sound and image products, an increase of 16.8 percent, NOK 3.7 billion (USD 584 million) on computer products, up 21.8 percent, and NOK 5.3 billion (USD 837 million) on mobile telephones.

About 2 million mobile phones were purchased in 2004, an increase of 28.8 percent over 2003, remarkable figures for a country with roughly 4.5 million residents.

Electronics industry information chief Erik Andersen believes that new technology and new services like cameras and multimedia messaging are the reasons behind the unexpectedly robust growth in mobile phone sales.

“On average people upgrade their mobile phones every other year. The young change more often because they want to use the latest options. In some age groups the life of a mobile phone is as low as nine months,” Andersen said.

Laptop computers also had a breakthrough year in 2004, making up 75 percent of all personal computers sold.

“The explanation for this is that prices are down to acceptable levels for most people, just under NOK 10.000 (USD 1,580),” Andersen said.