Food safety driving sales of small appliances
CNATAIPEI--The small domestic appliances sector in Taiwan continued to see an overall rising demand in the first three quarters of this year, driven by recent food safety concerns, the market research company GfK Group said Monday.
October 29, 2013, 12:22 am TWN
The total market — which is made up of the kitchen, houseware and personal care segments — saw its sales value rise by 7 percent year-on-year to US$388 million in the past three quarters, while its volume increased by 5 percent to 5 million units.
The most rapid growth in value is reflected in vacuum cleaners, where local consumers spent 39 percent more than last year, or US$20 million, on nearly 390,000 units.
In terms of volume, however, it is the food preparation segment that saw the highest surge of 36 percent compared to the same period of last year, totaling 300,000 units from January to September.
“One key reason for the rise in take-up of kitchen appliances is the recent spate of food safety scandals in Taiwan,” Lydia Huang, managing director for GfK in Taiwan, said.
“These incidents have raised the level of concern among locals towards eating clean and healthy food and have caused many to switch to home cooking to safeguard their family's health,” she said.
According to GfK findings, water filters and vacuum cleaners are the two segments that reported the highest average price surges of 16 and 17 percent, respectively.
Moreover, the rising popularity of online and TV shopping has also been playing a significant role in spurring the growth of the small domestic appliance market, contributing over 15 percent in terms of both total volume and sales this year.
The most sought-after products from online shops selling household products are vacuum cleaners, air treatment machines and food preparation products. These products garnered combined sales of US$43 million and made up over 65 percent of virtual shopping in this sector, GfK said.
The string of food safety scandals this year has affected the business of foodstuff suppliers and restaurant owners alike, according to major local newspapers.
In addition to outbreaks of avian flu abroad, which caused people in Taiwan to cut back on their consumption of poultry and eggs, the public was alarmed to learn in May that some unscrupulous businesses have long been adding harmful substances to starch, which is used to make a wide range of products, from noodles to sweets, the newspapers reported.
In August, it was discovered that a high-end bakery known for all- natural breads had been using artificial flavoring in its products, and two well-established mills have been found to be mixing low-priced imported rice with more expensive locally grown rice to maximize profits.
More recently, the discovery that two of the country's biggest importers and distributors of cooking oil have admitted adulterating their products with cheap cottonseed oil and various additives has sparked a fresh wave of discontent and distrust among the public.