Thanks to a hike in demand as people avoided going out amid the COVID-19 outbreak, non-storefront retailers’ sales for last year would likely surpass NT$320 billion (US$11.24 billion), the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Friday.
Ministry data showed that non-storefront retailers generated sales of NT$297.7 billion from January to November last year, up 12.3 percent year-on-year and the highest level for the period.
As the COVID-19 situation is not completely under control, non-storefront retailers still have steady sales growth, the ministry said.
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The trend would persist in the post-pandemic era, driven by changes in consumption habits, and the deployment of digital tools and use of social media by non-storefront retailers, the ministry said.
Of the NT$297.7 billion in sales for the first 11 months of last year, 73.1 percent were through e-commerce and mail order, while direct marketing and vending machines contributed 26.9 percent, ministry data showed.
By product, home appliances and information communication technology products constituted most non-storefront sales, at 39.4 percent, followed by food, beverages, tobacco and alcohol at 26.6 percent, and pharmaceuticals and cosmetics at 13.2 percent, the ministry said.
In terms of payment tools, most non-storefront retail sales were paid for with credit cards, at 69.9 percent, while 15.4 percent of consumers used cash and 2.4 percent mobile payments, data showed.
In a survey of non-storefront retailers in July last year, 54.7 percent cited “changing consumer demands” as a key challenge, 50.5 said that having “too many similar or interchangeable products” was an issue that needed to be addressed, while 43.3 percent said that they experienced “intense price competition and low gross margin,” the ministry said.
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