Thursday, August 06, 2020

Panic buying sees short-term surge in rice sales

Apr 03. 2020
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By The Nation

Rice sales have seen a big surge due to people stocking up on goods amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Hong Thong rice sales grew by 20 per cent, said Kampanart Manathanya, vice president of Chia Meng Marketing Co, pointing to consumers buying essential goods in larger quantities, rice bags becoming one of the most purchased products in the past two weeks.

Sales of Hong Thong rice, one of the three brands of the market leader, went up from 300,000 to 400,000 bags to a million bags, Kampanart said.

Online sales are seeing very high growth as well, he said. If compared to the Big sale and 11.11 discount festival, Hong Thong sales have jumped twice as much, from one delivery pickup truck per day, to two 10-wheel trucks per day, Kampanart said.

Consumer behaviour in shopping for rice bags is expected to return to normal within 1-2 weeks. Even if the Covid-19 crisis is prolonged, it will not affect stocking of rice bags like in the past because consumers will see the shelves fill up on the cart and hence suffer less panic, he said.

As for the overall picture, around 10 million tonnes of rice bags are sold per year. "Growth is probably not much since Thai people consume the same amount while tourists have declined. However, many are unemployed and have reduced income," he said, adding, "This might affect the purchase of low-priced rice bags, such as 5 kilograms at around Bt100 compared to the leading brand rice bags, with an average price of Bt200. The total market is forecast to grow 2-3 per cent and maybe negative by 1 per cent."

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