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TELECOM & INTERNET | Tony Chua, Singapore
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Economic recovery boosts spending on tech gadgets

Singaporeans have been splurging nearly 60% of Information Technology and Consumer Electronics products in Southeast Asia.

Now that the dust of the 2009 global recession has settled in most parts of the world and the economy is on the mend, consumers in Asia have already started to loosen up their purse strings. One area that has been registering significant growth since the last quarter of 2009 is Technical Consumer Equipment (TCE) as reported by GfK Asia.

According to GfK Asia's retail tracking across all of TCE which includes sectors such as Consumer Electronics, Major and Small Domestic Appliances, Photo, Telecom, and Information Technology, performance in all Asian markets started turning around for the better, reporting positive year-on-year growth in the last quarter of 2009. Information Technology and Major Domestic Appliances in particular started to display signs of growth as early as May 2009.

"Positive growth trends are seen in all of GfK’s panels across Asia for the past six months. The top performing categories are Information Technology, Telecommunication, Major Domestic Appliance and Consumer Electronics—each registering strong double-digit year-on-year growth rates in retail spending in the first three months of the year," commented Mr. Stanley Kee, Regional Commercial Director of GfK Asia.

GfK findings reveal that one product within the Consumer Electronics sector that has been displaying exceptional performance is LCD-TV. Sales of LCD-TV total more than half of all spending on Consumer Electronics products in countries like Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. "There is no doubt that LCD-TV is increasingly popular among Asia's consumers," said Mr Kee.

In Southeast Asia—where combined sales growth of consumer technology have been on a consistent upward trend for the last six months, Telecom currently occupies the biggest proportion of the overall TCE sales pie with its one-third (33%) share, while spending on Consumer Electronics is second-highest at 23 percent.

"Comparing across Southeast Asia, Indonesians are the biggest consumers of Telecom products, with their proportion of spend in this area taking up close to 45 percent of the entire pie. Singaporeans, on the other hand, with their penchant for computers and flat panel TVs, have been splurging nearly 60 percent on Information Technology and Consumer Electronics products during the first quarter this year," noted Mr Kee.

Mr Kee added, "As the economy picks up further and consumer sentiments continue to improve, we can anticipate consumption trends for consumer technology products to heighten further. Furthermore, with the excitement surrounding the FIFA World Cup in June, we are confident to predict yet another remarkable performance in sales of television, especially flat panel TVs in the upcoming weeks leading to this major sporting event."

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