Attendees visit the stand of Suning.com Co during CES Asia in Shanghai on June 14, 2018. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
The novel coronavirus outbreak has changed the daily life of Liu Xin, 28, an employee from an internet company in Beijing. In the past, she went to the company's canteen for three meals. But nowadays, Liu stays at home to cook the meals by herself.
She uses a soybean milk machine or juice extractor to make soybean milk or fruit juice every morning. At noon, she stews a bowl of chicken soup with the electric cooker, and uses steam mops to clean the room.
The novel coronavirus epidemic has boosted the consumption of small household appliances such as juice extractors, blenders and electric ovens. Chinese residents have become accustomed to baking food and squeeze juice on their own during the epidemic.
The epidemic has a serious impact on the catering and food delivery industries, but it has stimulated consumers to cook by themselves as multiple enterprises are encouraging employees to work at home. The demand for small kitchen appliances is skyrocketing in a short period of time
Li Ting, Deputy director of the kitchen appliances department at AVC
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Coffee machines, food processors, fruit and vegetable cleaning machines and steam high-temperature sterilizing blenders are also likely to see a robust growth in sales, industry experts said.
Statistics from market consultancy All View Cloud showed the online sales of juice extractors, blenders and electric ovens surged 100 percent, 74 percent and 45 percent, respectively, from Jan 27 to Feb 2 on a year-on-year basis.
But the offline sales of rice cookers, electric kettles and electric pressure cookers dropped more than 80 percent compared with the same period of last year, the consultancy said.
"The epidemic has a serious impact on the catering and food delivery industries, but it has stimulated consumers to cook by themselves as multiple enterprises are encouraging employees to work at home. The demand for small kitchen appliances is skyrocketing in a short period of time," said Li Ting, deputy director of the kitchen appliances department at AVC.
Chinese commercial giant Suning.com Co said the sales of disinfection cabinets, dishwashers, and vegetable washers surged 133 percent during the Lunar New Year holiday (Jan 24－Feb 2). Electric ovens, water purifiers, steam mops, air purifiers and air fryers were also favored by consumers.
The online sales of small kitchen appliances accounted for 74 percent of total revenue, surpassing brick-and-mortar stores to become the largest retail channel, according to AVC.
"Generally speaking, the outbreak will have a limited influence on the small household appliances industry. Consumers prefer buying them through online retail platforms, and they don't need workers for installation at home," Li said, adding merchants are willing to sell these products at social e-commerce websites and livestreaming platforms.
Li noted that the industry will reshuffle after the epidemic as some traditional retailers will speed up their transformation. The online shopping habits of consumers will be cultivated further, so the proportion of online sales involving small home appliances is likely to rise.
AVC said the sales of small kitchen appliances will increase 5.7 percent this year, compared with the same period last year, and related sales revenue will total 55.2 billion yuan (US$7.94 billion), a fall of 2.8 percent year-on-year.
In addition, electric lunch boxes will see a surge in demand as more and more enterprises resume production. Employees may reduce the frequency of eating at canteens and ordering takeouts, and tend to have a meal brought from home, Li said.
"In the past, they could use the public microwave ovens to heat the meal before eating, but the use of the electric lunch box is more convenient, and solves the concerns about hygiene."
Joyoung, one of China's leading private home appliance manufacturers and soybean milk machine makers, said the online sales of its soybean milk machines, high-speed blenders, automatic cookers and dish-washing machines increased in February.
The Shenzhen-listed company has developed a variety of kitchen products. Apart from soybean milk machines, they include juicers, electric furnaces, rice cookers, steamed bun cookers and noodle makers.
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It has also increased the frequency of making livestreaming at e-commerce platforms and let users upload funny short videos through Douyin, a Chinese video-sharing platform, during the epidemic.
In 2019, it cooperated with top-tier influencers such as Justin Li Jiaqi or Viya Huang for brand endorsements, with online sales reaching 700 million yuan during last year's Singles Day shopping carnival on Nov 11.
Chinese e-commerce giant JD announced special supportive measures for merchants, key opinion leaders and multi-channel networks doing livestreaming ecommerce to better support the rising demand for online shopping.
In order to meet the needs of merchants for new product releases, JD Live has upgraded its "online product launch conference", which leverages 5G technology to broadcast at low latency. The upgraded function will allow merchants to gain access to JD's massive marketing resources and tools.
HONG KONG NEWS