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Strong Demand for Small Domestic Appliances in Southeast Asia’s Five Key Markets Spurs Industry’s Double Digit Growth: GfK Asia

Rice cookers registered good performance with robust sales growth of 24 percent in value and volume in first ten months 2011

With only days left to close the year, it appears that 2011 is all set to be a good year for Southeast Asia’s Small Domestic Appliances (SDA) industry as monthly retail audit by GfK Asia has been consistently turning in positive showings each month.

In the latest report which covers results for the first ten months of this year, the overall SDA market across Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam registered volume expansion of 13.6 percent over the same period last year, bringing its total value to date to USD446 million.

Since the beginning of the year, consumers in the region bought over 15 million units of rice cookers, vacuum cleaners, irons, and food preparation equipments; 1.84 million units more than last year. All four categories are reflecting healthy double-digit growth, with the Rice Cooker segment taking the lead with its 24 and 23 percent increase in sales value and volume.

 “Rice is a staple food in this part of the world and in today’s modern society, a rice cooker is almost an essential item in every household,”

commented Ms. Jasmine Lim, Regional Account Director for Home & Lifestyle, GfK Asia. “GfK findings revealed that while the Indonesians and

Vietnamese spend the largest proportion of their SDA budget on rice cookers, it is the Thais who buy the greatest number of rice cookers across the five markets.”

According to GfK Asia’s retail tracking, the Rice Cooker segment takes up 50 percent of the overall industry value in both Vietnam and Indonesia, totaling USD91million and USD87million respectively. However, it is the region’s biggest and fastest growing SDA market of Thailand which achieved the highest value sales at USD275million. This reflects an impressive 35 percent growth over last year, making it the key market steering the overall growth of Rice Cooker category in Southeast Asia. Vietnam trails as the second highest growth market at 29 percent.

“The general trend we are seeing across the countries is the continued rise in popularity of the more sophisticated jar type rice cooker which has capabilities that extend beyond just the basic cooking of rice,” observed Ms. Lim. “Today, there are even those micro-computer jar type rice cookers utilizing high-tech fuzzy logic technology which has automatic settings and functions to cook a variety of rice dishes and other type of foods such as congee, soups etc.”

The more expensive fuzzy logic rice cookers are slowly gaining grounds in the Southeast Asia region, especially in Singapore where its value market share has reached 32 percent—the highest compared to the other countries. Almost one in every three rice cooker purchased here comes with such technology.

“The tendency of consumers upgrading to more premium appliances is apparent not just in the

Rice Cooker category, but also spans across others home gadgets. This trend clearly indicates a bright future for the region’s Small Domestic Appliances markets, which is very likely to close the year on a high note,” Ms. Lim concluded.