Sun, Dec 29, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Online sellers cash in on cold weather

DOUBLE-DIGIT GROWTH:The mercury fell dramatically, but online sales skyrocketed as Web companies said sales of heaters and blankets had risen from last year

Staff writer, with CNA

Visitors to the Taiping Mountain National Forest Recreation Area in Yilan County take pictures of the snowclad landscape yesterday. A surge in online spending has been attributed to the cold weather.

Photo provided by Luodong Forest District Office’s Taiping Hotel

The nation’s Web retailers have seen their sales surge in recent weeks thanks to cold and rainy weather, according to media reports.

Taipei in particular has been damp and rainy for most of this month, with its number of rainy days and rainfall accumulation for the month being the second highest since records began in 1902.

Web retailers said cold, rainy weather has helped deter shoppers from venturing outdoors and prompted them to shop online.

An online retail Web site, myfone.taiwanmobile.com, said annual sales grew 2.6 times between Sunday last week and Tuesday, which was Christmas Eve.

Two other Web retailers, rakuten.com.tw and 7net, saw their sales increase 40 percent and 20 percent respectively during the Christmas shopping season.

The Go Happy shopping site said its sales grew 30 percent this month from a year before, with sales in the week before Christmas accounting for 40 percent of its monthly retailing volume.

It attributed the double-digit growth mainly to the cold, wet weather.

Speedy, convenient delivery or click and collect services provided by Web retailers have also helped attract more online customers, the Web retailer said.

PChome24h said this month’s sales of electric heaters grew by more than 200 percent year-on-year, and sales of dehumidifiers also increased 30 percent.

An online shopping site operated by United Daily News Group, shopping.udn.com, saw its daily sales exceed NT$10 million (US$333,540) one day this month.

“It’s a new record and an encouraging record,” said a spokesman.

He said the Web site has seen its sales this year more than double from last year’s, with fourth-quarter sales hitting a new high. Best-selling items include electric heaters, dehumidifiers, blankets, winter clothing, health food and herbal tonics, he added.

Rakuten Ichiba Taiwan also said successive cold waves that have struck this winter have helped to boost its sales of electric heaters, dehumidifiers and electric quilt heaters.

According to the Central Weather Bureau yesterday, a cold spell sent temperatures plummeting yesterday, with many areas recording new lows for the year.

Temperatures in areas as far south as Tainan dropped below 10oC, with Chiayi County setting a low for low-altitude areas at 6.2oC, according to bureau data.

Tamsui (淡水) in New Taipei City (新北市) recorded a low of 8.8oC, while Taichung and other central areas saw the mercury plunge to 9.1oC, the bureau said.

Yushan (玉山) and Hehuanshan (合歡山) saw new lows this year at minus-9.5oC and minus-9.1oC respectively.

Low temperatures could continue over the weekend, forecasters said, saying that the mercury could range from 9oC to 15oC in the north, and 10oC to 19oC in the south.

The chill is expected to ease from tomorrow, with lows returning to more than 12oC nationwide, the bureau said.

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