Working from home means more business for some retailers
Furniture and electronics retailers get a boost as more work from home
With more people working from home and choosing self-isolation amid the coronavirus outbreak, demand for office chairs, work desks and laptops has gone up, according to furniture and consumer electronics retailers The New Paper spoke to.
Ikea said workspaces sales are up 17 per cent from last year, sales of stationery organisers, sorting bins, boxes and baskets are up 10 per cent, and lumbar cushions and laptop supports are getting popular.
And with people eating at home more, there has been a 16 per cent increase in sales for Ikea's Cookshop range since last year, with pots, pans and food containers moving briskly.
An Ikea spokesman told TNP: "From creating that cosy nook to work at home to making more space for the whole family to gather, people are investing more to make home count."
Gain City has seen 10 times more demand for air purifiers from the same time last year. Other sought-after items include smart TVs, water dispensers and ovens.
A Gain City spokesman said: "There's a surge in interest in products that support overall maintenance of health and wellness. More families are even getting their air conditioner serviced. We saw a drastic increase in bookings in the past months."
A Harvey Norman spokesman said it has seen "good incremental sales" in IT-related products such as notebooks, monitors and printers, while TVs and fridges are "also very popular".
She added: "We have loads of offers online too, with many solutions for those who work from home, as well as free delivery for minimum spend of $200."
Even though the retailers saw shoppers staying away after the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition moved to Orange last month, footfall traffic has climbed steadily of late.
At Ikea, in the past four weeks, home furnishing sales were up more than 6 per cent from last year.
For Courts, online sales have increased by a double-digit percentage in March to date compared with last year, led by computing and home appliances.
With the crowds returning, the retailers have also stepped up safety precautions.
These include temperature checks for staff and customers, providing hand sanitisers, and sanitising and regular disinfecting of common areas.
Gain City has organised smaller group buy events and has implemented a time slot system whereby shoppers will be given a one-hour time slot during which they are allowed to enter.
A maximum of 80 shoppers are allowed at any point of time, which also aids in social distancing. Safe distancing is practised by using floor markers 1m apart in queues.
A Courts spokesman said: "We are being vigilant and are committed to providing a safe and convenient way for Singaporeans to shop during this period."