Tue, Aug 28, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Theme items major sellers for back-to-school market

By Yang Chiu-ying and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

A boy looks at an Angry Birds backpack on Friday as Taiwan’s elementary and secondary school students prepare to go back to school after the summer break. Stationery items with movie or computer game characters have been popular this summer.

Photo: Yang Chiu-ying, Taipei Times

As parents and students gear up for back-to-school shopping, electronic devices and school supplies that feature well-liked video games and blockbuster movies are flying off the shelves, boosting sales for department stores and hypermarkets around the country.

School supplies featuring the popular video game Angry Birds online game Mole Village and blockbuster Transformers outrank Disney-themed products — which had been the most sought-after by students in past years — to become this summer’s biggest hits among young pupils, according to operators of the Dayeh Takashimaya, Carrefour Taiwan and Far Eastern Amart.

Aside from themed schoolbags and stationery, desktops and laptops as well as items necessary for college freshmen renting an apartment, including small household appliances, storage boxes and bedding products, remain “must-buy” products for college students, said Huang Ping-chih (黃秉志), appliance department manager at Far Eastern Amart’s Dazhi branch.

“Most students [who visit the hypermarket] are accompanied by their parents and generally go for desktops or laptops that priced at between NT$10,000 and NT$20,000,” Huang said, adding that the sales figures during the “back-to-school” period accounted for as much as between 25 percent and 30 percent of the hypermarket chain’s annual revenue.

Most department stores and hypermarket chains are set to offer between 30 and 40 percent discounts on school supplies and electronic devices before school starts next month.

According to Carrefour Taiwan public relations manager Lin Meng-shao (林夢紹), college students used to be the primary demographic for the computer market, but that segment had expanded to include elementary-school students, who were now required to do most of their homework on a computer.

“In addition to having a fast processor, a big memory and a large screen are also a must for young students when purchasing a computer,” Lin said, adding that youngsters who shopped for computers with their hard-earned money from part-time jobs tended to pick models that were about NT$10,000 cheaper than those bought by students whose parents paid the bills.

While NBA star Jeremy Lin (林書豪), the first NBA player of Taiwanese descent, has left the New York Knicks for the Houston Rockets, various stationery items imprinted with his autograph and featuring his Knicks No. 17 jersey remain well-liked by young sports fans, according to Far Eastern Amart and Far Eastern Department Stores’ Banciao Branch.

Other well-received products include animal and dessert-shaped erasers, notebooks featuring colorful Lego building bricks and a variety of stationery that mimic keyboards.

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