Retailers see brisk sales as M’sians seek to upgrade home offices


  • Nation
  • Monday, 03 Aug 2020

Popular gadgets: Shoppers browsing for computer and tech accessories such as webcams at Plaza Low yat, Kuala Lumpur.

KUALA LUMPUR: With employers encouraging work-from-home arrangements in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, retailers are seeing more electronic items flying off the shelves as Malaysians upgrade their home-office setup.

Interviews with staff members at Plaza Low Yat, a mall which specialises in electronics and gadgets, showed that more Malaysians were buying equipment that would make for a conducive work environment at home.

A shop assistant, who wanted to be known only as Chan, said more people were making purchases of webcams, flash drives and headsets.

“People need these items for their work as more of them start working from home.

“Even though people have built-in webcams in their laptops, they want a proper one that can capture their images more clearly, especially because there is an increase in the frequency of online meetings, ” he said.

Some office employees, he said, were even willing to spend a few hundred ringgit on high-quality microphones to record audio during the meetings.

Chan said although there were many who buy items on e-commerce sites, some still preferred to go to brick-and-mortar stores to get advice from the sales staff.

“They want to do a survey of the items they are interested in, and to ensure the quality is good before they make such a purchase, ” he said.

Another retail assistant, Naren, said the computer equipment store he worked at had been seeing more customers lately.

“This is especially so right after the movement control order (MCO) was lifted, ” he said.

As people wanted to have a better experience of having online meetings, they mostly purchased webcams and headsets, he said.

Printers were another hot commodity, he added.

A man named Chong, who works at a computer store, said more customers had been coming in since the MCO ended.

“There are even more customers than pre-MCO times, ” he said.

He said that many items, especially webcams, were sold out when they first reopened.

“Even now, our webcams are in short supply.

“We sold a lot of printers as well, ” he said.

E-commerce sites also recorded a surge in the sales of electronic equipment following a shift towards work-from-home arrangements.

Shopee regional managing director Ian Ho said even as the company moved into the recovery MCO period, the platform’s merchants still saw an increase in sales numbers in July compared to before the MCO.

“During the MCO, we saw a spike in interest for work-from-home equipment such as laptops, keyboards, mouse, monitors, printers and projectors, as people were gearing up for a conducive working environment at home.

“As we move into the recovery MCO, brands and traders selling these items still continued to enjoy a strong growth of 200% in orders in July compared to January this year.

“While we cannot fully ascertain if this is due to continued work-from-home practices, Malaysians will always be on the lookout for great value, ” he said.

A Lazada Malaysia spokesperson said tech accessories were ranked the third most popular category on the platform based on average units sold in July.

“When the MCO was first enacted in March, we saw a significant increase in demand for teleconferencing and computer accessories as Malaysians were gearing up with equipment for a conducive and productive home working environment.

“As companies continue to take a cautious approach towards employees returning to work, we have seen this trend continue as tech accessories such as computers, laptops, mobile phones, monitors and printers were ranked the third highest category (on the platform), ” the spokesperson said.

The Lazada spokesperson added that the overall daily average transactions across its platform had grown by nearly 80% compared to before the MCO.

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