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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     23  December 2010

Asian consumers resume spending

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Consumers in Asian region have resumed purchasing household appliances with great enthusiasm, propelling the small domestic appliances (SDA) industry to grow at a double-digit rate of 22 percent in value in the first 10 months of the year.

GfK Asia's retail tracking of SDA said more than 21 million units and US$1.13 billion worth of food preparation appliances, irons, rice cookers and vacuum cleaners were sold in the last 10 months.

"All the markets registered value and unit growths of up to 32 and 14 percent, respectively," said GfK Asia, which tracks SDA in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam and South Korea.

Consumers in the region held back from purchasing household appliances during the economic downturn two years ago.

GfK said if 2009 sales pattern were any indication, markets like Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand are expected to perform exceptionally well over the Christmas period, while in Taiwan, Korea and Vietnam, sales spike would be more evident at the beginning of the year due to the Chinese New Year season.

"Singapore and South Korea are the top two performing markets in 2010.

"The SDA industry in these two countries grew significantly by 32 and 27 per cent in value, respectively.

"However, if we look at unit growth, it was the Vietnamese and Thai consumers who purchased 14 and 12 percent more units of such domestic appliances in the last ten months compared with the same time period last year," said Regional Account Director for Home Appliances at GfK Asia Pte Ltd Jasmine Lim in a statement today.

According to GfK Asia, the product category of food preparation appliance, iron, rice cooker and vacuum cleaner, tracked in the survey, recorded positive growth in their average unit price, a sign that consumers were trading up to better models and brands.

"In developed nations such as South Korea and Singapore, the average price of appliances have gone up by over 20 percent, indicating that consumers' were buying more expensive and sophisticated products," said Lim.

She said an emerging trend now in South Korea was the increasing popularity of online purchasing of small household appliances.

"There has been a steady increase in Internet sales over the past three years and this mode of transaction currently accounted for nine percent of total sales for this market," she said.

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