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Asia IT retail market strong despite global economic crisis

Zafar Anjum | Aug. 12, 2008
GfK Asia's data shows substantial growth in retail figures in the region.

SINGAPORE, 12 AUGUST 2008 In contrast to the gloomy global economic outlook, Asia's IT sector is still experiencing positive growth.

This is according to GfK Asia's 2008 Mid-Year Pan Asian IT Retail Data Summary. The report covers personal computers (PC), both desktop and notebooks; monitors, printers and multifunctional devices.

The report contains data from nine Asian countries showing mid-year figures for 2008 against the same period in 2007.

The countries surveyed for PC, monitors and Single function printers include China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Australia. The countries surveyed for multi-functional devices are China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Australia.

Retail sales up

GfK Asia's retail PC market findings for the first half of 2008 shows that retail sales are up an average 19 per cent in volume across the nine countries surveyed. The sales for this sector totaled about 8.7 million units for the region. The region's total retail sales value increased 21 per cent over the same period in 2007, to slightly more than US$6.7 billion.

According to the report, Vietnam, despite her 25 per cent inflation and labour strikes, still managed to lead the way in both volume and value, showing a 53 per cent increase in retail PC units sold from 174,000 in first six months of 2007, to more than 266, 000 from January to June 2008.

Singapore and Hong Kong also showed unprecedented increases in retail sales volumes for the first half of 2008, the report noted. Singapore consumers purchased an additional 34 per cent over the same period in 2007 and Hong Kong retail sales of PC's grew by 26 per cent year-on-year.

Desktops still most popular

Across Asia, desktops continue to hold the lion's share of volume with retail sales at nearly 4.75 million, accounting for more than 55 per cent of total PC sales in the first half of 2008, the report highlighted.

Contrary to popular belief, desktop sales are not at a dead end, said Gerard Tan, commercial director (IT), GfK Asia. If we consider that there has been a negligible drop in the average price for the desktop for over 12 months -- for example, the average retail price of a Singapore desktop actually increased 3.3 per cent from 2007 to 2008, in Hong Kong we saw a slight drop of just about 4 per cent yet retail sales figures remain solid, with a total Asian market value of approximately US$3 billion in the last six months.

But this does not mean the notebooks are far behind. According to the report, notebooks have narrowed the gap immensely, coming in with an unprecedented 4 million notebook purchases, which is a 50 per cent increase over units sold in Asia against the same time last year.


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