Tue, Feb 11, 2020 - Page 12 News List

Holiday, outbreak bolster sales of online operators

BOOM AND GLOOM:The Lunar New Year holiday and virus fears lifted sales of food, electronics and cosmetics, as well as masks, hand sanitizers and games

By Natasha Li  /  Staff reporter

A tablet computer yesterday displays an image of PChome Online’s “epidemic prevention page,” which advertises items such as respirators, surgical masks and sanitizer sprays.

Photo: CNA

The nation’s leading e-commerce operators Momo.com Inc (富邦媒體) and PChome Online Inc (網路家庭) posted record-high sales last month, on the back of the Lunar New Year holiday and growing concern over the spreading 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Momo saw its revenue grow 15.09 percent year-on-year to NT$4.93 billion (US$163.78 million), while PChome posted a 5.52 percent increase to NT$3.62 billion.

Momo said the holiday boosted sales of food products, gift sets and cosmetics, while PChome said it benefited from robust sales of consumer electronics, including smartphones, with Apple and Samsung being the preferred brands, and home appliances, such as robotic vacuum cleaners and air fryers.

As Taiwan last month confirmed its first case of the 2019-nCoV, Momo and PChome said they saw surging sales of N95 respirators, surgical masks and other types of masks, with orders during the holiday growing 7 to 10 times compared with the monthly average.

The two companies added that sales of wet wipes, hand sanitizers and bleach among other disinfecting agents surged during the period.

E-commerce start-up Kuobrothers Corp (創業家兄弟), which reported revenue of NT$383.53 million for last month, said that mask sales increased by more than fourfold, while sales of automatic soap dispensers and air purifiers also rose.

PChome subsidiary Ruten.com (露天拍賣) said that it saw an increase in keyword searches for non-woven fabric and sewing machines as consumers look to make their own masks.

That came after the Central Epidemic Command Center on Jan. 31 centralized the distribution of medical masks and banned their exports.

Sales of board games and video game consoles rose as more people stayed indoors to avoid the virus, tallies compiled by Momo and PChome showed.

Momo reported robust sales of Nintendo Co’s Switch game consoles and games, and Sony Corp’s PlayStation 4 consoles, in addition to healthy sales of automatic mahjong tables.

PChome also reported increased sales of home exercise equipment, such as treadmills and gym weights.

The company said it is looking to further boost revenue this month by promoting Valentine’s Day sales and back-to-school items.

Momo is pushing Valentine’s Day promotions in cooperation with various brands and offering cashback incentives.

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