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Demand in Japan for appliances at record high amid consumers staying home


More time at home has driven demand for home electrical appliances to record levels.

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The value of domestic home electrical appliance shipments in fiscal 2020, which ended in March, increased 6.5% from the previous fiscal year to ¥2.61 trillion, the Japan Electrical Manufacturers’ Association said Tuesday. This was the highest figure since fiscal 1997, when the current statistical method was introduced.

The fiscal 2020 figure was also 5.9% higher than the previous record of ¥2.47 trillion in fiscal 2018, when there was last-minute demand ahead of the consumption tax rate hike from 8% to 10%.

By product category, the shipment value of air cleaners nearly doubled from the previous year to ¥109.4 billion, exceeding ¥100 billion for the first time. For room air conditioners, the shipment value increased 3.5% to ¥818.2 billion. The rising demand is believed to be due to increased awareness of health and cleanliness amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Online sales have been strong as electronics retailers have had to shorten business hours.

Consumption was also boosted by the central government’s special cash benefit of ¥100,000 per resident. There was increased demand especially to replace consumer goods and appliances with high sticker prices. The shipment value of washing machines increased 8.4% to ¥399.5 billion and that of vacuum cleaners by 7.6% to ¥99.5 billion.

Demand for kitchen devices also increased as some companies began introducing telecommuting. Sales of refrigerators rose 3.1% to ¥452.5 billion, while sales of microwave ovens increased 5.7% to ¥94.4 billion.

On a monthly basis, the overall shipment value of home electrical appliances in April and May was sluggish, in the range of ¥150 billion to ¥200 billion, because of the state of emergency issued during those months. After the emergency was lifted, shipment value surged to ¥308 billion in June, and remained above ¥200 billion from July through September.

A second state of emergency was declared for parts of the country in January and continued for about 2½ months, but the shipment value in January was the highest seen for that month in the past 10 years.

The strong demand from people staying at home continued in February and March. The shipment value in March increased 8.9% from the same month the year before to ¥238.9 billion, marking six consecutive months with a year-on-year increase.

Published : April 21, 2021

By : The Japan News/ANN