Rice cookers still the best selling small appliance in SEA
2.1 million rice cookers were sold in Southeast Asia despite the sales dip suffered by the Small Domestic Appliances sector in 1Q12.
In a news release, GfK announced that over 4.6 million units of small domestic appliances including food preparation appliances, irons, rice cookers and vacuum cleaners were sold in the five key Southeast Asian countries of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam in the first three months of this year.
According to latest GfK Asia’s retail tracking data, this period generally saw performance slowing down for the Small Domestic Appliances (SDA) sector in majority of the countries. An exception was Malaysia, which bucked the downward trend and managed to turn in positive results.
“Due to the economic situation in Vietnam where the market is experiencing the worst inflation in Asia, purchasing power has generally been reduced, naturally leading to more conservative spending behavior by consumers in the country,” explained Ms. Jasmine Lim, Account Director for Home & Lifestyle at GfK Asia. “On a more positive note, the region’s SDA sector was boosted up by Malaysia’s upbeat performance of 8% and 7% growth in sales volume and value respectively.”
The star performing segment in SDA was vacuum cleaners, which sold some 12,000 more units in the first quarter of this year over the same period last year. This smallest contributing segment in the sector correspondingly raked in 4% more in revenue to reach US$24 million in total revenue. Meanwhile, the largest contributor to SDA in all the countries remains as rice cooker. Over 2.1 million rice cookers worth US$55 million were sold.
“Average prices of small household appliance across the countries have registered slight variations compared to a year ago, from a reduction of 1% in Malaysia to jumps of 5% and 9% in Thailand and Vietnam,” noted Ms. Lim. “The higher average appliance price in the case of Thailand was driven mainly by value growth in steam irons and steam iron systems—an indication of consumers’ readiness to trade up from basic irons to more premium, higher-end models.”
Although irons, rice cookers and food preparation volume sales in the Southeast Asian markets tracked have generally dipped in the first quarter this year, GfK reports showed that the decline was mainly due to the slower sales registered in the month of January*. Sales momentum in the subsequent two months saw total SDA sales almost on par when compared against the previous year.
“We foresee some surge in demand in the vacuum cleaner and food preparation categories as we are noticing more product features and variations are increasingly being offered in the markets,” said Ms. Lim. “Along with the rising affluence and heightening standard of living in today’s society, we anticipate further growth of SDA, propelled by the rising number of consumers seeking out products beyond the basic range which can help improve their quality of life.”