December 26 — ELECTRONIC and IT products have seen a boost in sales in an otherwise gloomy year for businesses devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

High infection rates worldwide have changed the way people work and live. The shift from physical to virtual, for the classroom to the office, has created a demand for electronic devices such as laptops, tablets or mobile phones to enable remote connections.

Kuala Lumpur’s Plaza Low Yat, known as “Malaysia’s Largest IT Lifestyle Mall”, is just the place to shop for such items.

Waran, 23, who works at Malaysia House of Internet, said there had been a surge in demand for laptops.

He said despite a delay in the arrival of new models, customers were happy to purchase what was available.

Waran said people were not particular about the brand as long as the model was user-friendly, had the necessary software and reasonably priced.

“Our customers want laptops for basic and daily use. So, they tend to buy laptops that are user friendly and cheap.

“The cheapest laptop in the brand we sell is around RM2,300 and that is good enough for working adults and students. The series is one of our bestsellers at this period,” he said.

Mobile phones are another popular buy.

Jason, who sells the phones at a kiosk, is doing brisk business.

He said parents were buying them for their kids, who needed them to attend class and for schoolwork.’

“There is a big demand now for smartphones, even the basic models.

“I’ve seen parents buying the simplest smartphones for their kids, because they said the teachers were now communicating through WhatsApp and that work and programmes were sent on the platform,” he said.

Jason said business was 10% better this year than 2019.

“We had to close shop in March due to the pandemic but I’m glad of the move to work from home and hold classes online, which needs new devices and which has boosted our sales.”

Printers are selling well too.

Low, who runs Iklaskom Enterprise, a shop specialising in the sale and repair of printers, said he was surprised by the high demand this year.

Low said he was getting enquiries and orders on the internet during the movement control order period.

“In March, we had to close the shop but I was still receiving orders on Facebook.

“I can safely say that sales for printers and components have increased by at least 15% since April this year,” he said.

 Second-hand goods

Times are hard and some can only afford to buy used items or have their gadgets refurbished.

Isthika Mojid, who works in Jesan Trade International, said more people were buying used laptops.

“These are tough times. Recently, a family came to my shop and bought three laptops and all were second-hand,” he said.

A used laptop costs only RM600 to RM800, he said. 

Mojid said people were also sending their old laptops to his shop for repairs.

“Some can’t even afford to buy second-hand. So they send their old laptop for repairs or an upgrade.

Low of Iklaskom said he was receiving orders for printer repairs.

He said not all printers could be repaired due to a lack of spare parts.

“This year I received many printers for service and repairs. I think it is mainly because people are learning and working from home now.

“I can repair some as I have the parts but some need parts from abroad, which is tough because they take a long time to arrive.

“I am straight with the customers. Sometimes the repair will cost more than a new printer and I’ll advise them to buy a new one,” he said.

Waran of Malaysia House of Internet said it was better to buy new as second-hand goods could be problematic.

New items were less likely to have problems and even if they did, they came with a warranty, he said.

“If the customer asks for my opinion, I will tell them to buy new to avoid problems.

“New items come with a warranty. So even if there are any issues with the item, the customer can return it for repairs or a replacement.

“However, this is not applicable for second-hand goods. Sometimes you end up spending more on repairs than you would on a new item.”  


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