The new wave of the pandemic is sparking demand for computers and accessories, pushing sales to grow 45-70% above normal, as more people work from home and learn online, say major IT retailers.
Computers and components are still in short supply, slowed by the closure of factories abroad because of the pandemic and a surge in demand.
“In the first 10 days this year, PC sales rose by 70% year-on-year as the fresh outbreak has driven purchases of desktops, notebooks and tablets, as well as accessories such as monitors and headsets,” Takon Niyomthai, head of IT business development at Com7, a SET-listed IT retail chain, told the Bangkok Post.
Previously a family would need only one computer, but now households often want more than one item per person, he said.
Mr Takon said the IT industry remains troubled by short supply, particularly computer processors, meaning retailers only have stock for one week, instead of 1.5 months during a normal period.
He said entry-level notebooks with prices below 25,000 baht are drawing high demand, resulting in a shortage.
Com7 closed some branches in strictly controlled provinces because of the new outbreak, but pop-up shops still operate in affected areas with approval from authorities, said Mr Takon.
Online sales during the fresh outbreak have not matched the level during last year’s lockdown because retail shops remain open this time, he said.
IT retailer JIB Computer saw sales of PCs and notebooks surge 45% in the first 11 days of January, compared with the same period last year.
Online sales shot up 30% during the period.
There is strong demand for other IT items such as webcams, routers and monitors, said Somyot Chaowalit, chief executive of JIB Computer.
“Spending on technological items will continue to rise, with at least double-digit growth this year despite the downturn as users rely on these devices for work and study,” he said.
Graphics cards are now in short supply because there is high demand for the component in tailor-made computers, which customers use for cryptocurrency mining following the rising prices of cryptocurrencies, said Mr Somyot.
Computers and components in stock now last only half a month, compared with 1.5 months in previous periods, he said.
SET-listed digital product distributor Copperwired (CPW) said its sales reached the highest in its two decades of operation in December, crucially driven by purchases of the iPhone 12 lineup and the next generation of iPads during the festive season.
CPW chief executive Paramate Rienjaroensuk said the fresh outbreak is driving sales of IT devices that support people working from home and studying online.
In January, sales of Internet of Things devices and mobile accessories at the company’s shops in malls could slow because of lower visitor traffic, he said.