Covid-19 spikes computer sales at electronic stores

Many stores have seen demand increase sharply for computers, with some doubling sales since the Covid-19 epidemic struck Vietnam.

Covid-19 spikes computer sales at electronic stores
Customers and staff wearing face masks inside a computer store in Hanoi on March 26, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Luu Quy.

An electronic shop on Hanoi’s Thai Ha Street was still bustling with customers looking to buy computers and related-accessories at around 6 p.m. a recent evening.

A salesperson said that in just one day, the store sold more than 60 computers, including desktops and laptops, several times higher than normal days, though March is not usually a peak season for this product segment.

Store owner Tien Duc said: "In the past two weeks, every week the sales increased by about 20 percent. Customers are buying the device mainly for entertainment, working remotely and studying at home."

Duc said demand was highest among students.

"Some computers cost less than VND10 million ($428). Other bestselling items are webcams, speakers and microphone, accounting for over 50 percent of sales," he said.

Demand for computers in Vietnam began to increase in February, around the time when students all over the country readied for an extended stay at home owing to Covid-19 safety precautions.

Retailer Mobile World recorded an 80 percent year-on-year increase in laptop sales in the first two months. Meanwhile, the FPT Shop chain saw laptop sales in February increase by 79 percent compared to January. The company also noticed an 153 percent increase in March sales over January, even though the month was yet to end.

Both retailers believe the growth spike comes from those who need to work and study remotely.

Thu Huyen, an accountant in Hanoi, said she had to wait nearly two hours to choose a laptop and install the software.

Meanwhile, some gamers are buying computer items not only for their entertainment purposes but also because they are afraid "that the prices of these items will increase because of the pandemic."

In some stores, the surge in demand for computer accessories has seen mouses, keyboards, gaming headsets, webcams and others have been sold out, exceeding distributors' estimates.

Despite the good news of increasing demand and sales, stores selling computers are also facing difficulties.

Since most computer-related items are manufactured in foreign countries and imported, retailers cannot bring in new goods because of import complications at this time. Some customers with broken laptop have been waiting for a month to get them back, but the lack of new parts and components has indefinitely delayed things.

Another problem is that because electronic store employees have to go to the customers' houses to install new devices, many stores are short of delivery staff.

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