by SHAFIQQUL ALIFF / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE National Tech Association of Malaysia (Pikom) expected a slow pick-up of tech gadgets in the first quarter of 2022 (1Q22), after a good performance recorded in 2021 due to work-from-home (WFH) and online classes.
Pikom chairman Dr Sean Seah admitted that there is a drop in sales for gadgets but it is not as significant as laptops, mobile phones and PCs were back in the “need-to-have” list in light of the economy reopening.
Based on Pikom Tech Marketplace, most of the items such as laptops, smartphones, tablets, network components, keyboards, printers and audio systems achieved over 550,000 units in sales in the first week of the Movement Control Order (MCO) last year.
He said this indicates that the gadget sales were robust in 4Q21, marking a growth of four and a half times compared to the same week in the first MCO, which was most probably due to several factors such as arrangements for online classes that were activated more smoothly.
“Moreover, the tech gadgets have become a lifestyle category as it is tax-deductible which encourages more people to purchase a gadget, resulting in a spike in sales.
“Since more businesses were on WFH mode, companies would have made steps to guarantee their employees have the tools they need to WFH efficiently and the announcement of MCO extension every two weeks stimulated the purchase of tech goods,” Seah said further.
According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia, the country’s e-commerce income soared 17.1% to RM279 billion in the 3Q21.
The continued special RM2,500 tax relief announced in the National Budget 2022 for the purchase of handphones, computers, tablets and tech-related items have also contributed to the increase of gadget sales last year.
However, one of the IT dealers at Digital Mall, Petaling Jaya in Selangor, who requested anonymity said that the sales of gadgets have been consistently declining since mid-September as more businesses and schools resume physical interactions.
“For instance, in October alone, we could only sell a few units of laptops, and it is even hard for us to sell, although at a cheap price of below RM2,000 and most of the parents will ask us for a cheaper laptop which can run certain software for their kids if they buy, due to the financial constraints they faced when the government allowed all working sectors to operate at 100% capacity,” the dealers said to The Malaysian Reserve.
A mobile phone seller at Lowyat in Kuala Lumpur said retailers will continue to face challenges until the end of this year, where phone sales continue to decline more than 20% compared to a few months back.
“I hope the government can or will do something and help gadget businesses to ease our burden such as giving rebates on the price of electronic goods to allow traders to breathe again,” the seller said.
Seah said the association will conduct special deals in conjunction with the Chinese New Year and 3.3 deals to boost sales.
“Nonetheless, to encourage sales, several IT outlets will be conducting special offers for the Chinese New Year, 2.2 and 3.3 deals,” he said.