THERE has been a stark increase in demand from Ipoh folk for clothes dryers during the recent monsoon season.
A check by MetroPerak found that sales for drying machines have tripled in major electrical stores, some even to the extent of running out of stock.
At Simee Electrical Sdn Bhd in Bercham, its director Sheila Chaw noted there was an increase of about 200% to 300% during last November and December – the highest for clothes dryer sales in recent years.
“Clothes dryers are usually slow-moving products, but within those two months, we sold at least four to five units a day.
“At times, we run out of stock, so customers either have to wait for new stock to arrive or try purchasing from other stores,” she told MetroPerak.
As clothes were taking a longer time to dry because of the constant rain, Chaw said homemakers are mostly the ones resorting to buying dryers.
“Many of them tell us that they have clothes of the whole family they needed to dry and they were running out of space on the laundry drying rack,” she said.
Chaw added that dryers are typically unpopular products among Ipoh folk.
“Now that the rainy season has ended, there is almost no demand.
“Usually, only those staying in apartments or Cameron Highlands folk coming into the city would purchase dryers,” she said.
Likewise at Senheng Electric in Bandar Baru Medan Ipoh, sales partner Amir Min said the store, which was selling three brands of drying machines, saw a rise in dryer sales since last November.
“We successfully sold one to three units a day, and sometimes we would have none left,” he said.
Amir said the wet weather had contributed to a higher demand for dryers from those living in terrace houses.
“Either way, it is a sensible choice because dryers protect one’s laundry and prevents people from stealing clothes, which are usually aired outside the home,” he said.
Kim Seen Electronic Trading sales clerk Amy Ooi said dryers had been selling like hotcakes at the store as well since late last year.
“Some of the customers even came from Kuala Lumpur because they said dryers were sold out in most stores there.
“We had to order more units to meet customer demand,” she said.
Meanwhile, salesperson Alex Yap said there had been no significant change in the sales of dryers at VSM Electrical.
“This is mainly because many new washing machines are equipped with the dryer function.
“Most of our customers select washing machines with this capability as it is economical and they need not fork out extra just to dry all their clothes on rainy days,” he said.
In comparison to drying machines, clothes drying racks, however, have not experienced any major increase or decrease in sales during the monsoon season.
Many retailers believe that weather is not a factor when it comes to purchasing drying racks in the city.
Vin Home Sdn Bhd manager, who only wished to be known as Vincent, said drying racks are not considered a fast-moving item because it is only bought when the need arises.
“It is only when customers have moved into a new house and they need to purchase new furniture, including a rack for drying clothes.
“Some may also buy to replace the old, worn out ones they own,” he said.
However, Vincent noted that wall-mounted laundry drying racks seem to be the current trend.
“Some of my customers choose this option because their portable laundry drying rack has been stolen,” he said.
Similarly at Tiscaly Kitchen and Home, its representative Cheng said sales of drying racks mainly depended on customer demand and not the weather.
“If there is a need, then they would buy it.
“And once bought, the drying racks can last for years,” she said.
Meanwhile, at Khoon Fatt Furniture and Decoration, its representative, who declined to be named, said there was only a slight increase in sales of drying racks during the monsoon season.
“This is probably because clothes take a longer time to dry and people needed more space to accommodate a new pile of laundry the next day.
“But it does not make an impact on our sales.
“If anything, I think our furniture business has been quite slow because people may not be willing to spend more since living standards are continuing to rise,” she said.