Retail IT sales likely to dip 15% in Q1 [Bangkok Post, Thailand]
(Bangkok Post (Thailand) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 23--The high cost of living will likely push local retail IT sales down by 15% in the first quarter, especially for notebook computer, say leading IT retailers.
However, industry players are optimistic the government's planned megaprojects and wider 3G network coverage will accelerate market demand in the second half.
Commart Thailand, which started yesterday, serves as an indicator for overall IT spending this year.
Thailand's retail IT market is expected to grow by 15% to 110 billion baht this year.
The country's overall IT spending should grow by 12% in a market estimated at 210 billion baht this year, fuelled mainly by sales of tablets and ultrabook computers.
Sales of notebook computers are expected to reach 2.8 million units this year, while tablets sales will top 1 million.
Boonchai Ngouvisitkul, associate director of Acer Computer (Thailand), said IT companies started to see a decline in their sales last month, particularly in notebooks.
Average quarterly notebook sales in Thailand total 550,000 units.
"Sales of notebooks shrunk by 15% to 1.4 billion baht," he said.
Mr Boonchai said the introduction of new ultrabooks and the launch of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system are expected to bring overall demand back, especially in the replacement market.
The market expects to see up to 75 models of second-generation ultrabooks from more than 10 vendors this year. Prices will dip to 25,000 baht from 28,000 baht last year.
Accharas Ouysinprasert, the managing director of Intel Microelectronics (Thailand), a US-based chip maker, agreed higher living costs would dampen local IT market sentiment.
But he hopes government spending will help stimulate domestic consumption growth.
Mr Accharas said 3G services would increase sales of personal computers by up to 200,000 units.
Pathom Indarodom, general manager of ARIP Plc, the organiser of Commart Thailand, said the event, which runs to Sunday, will be a good indicator of consumer confidence in IT spending. It aims for 3 billion baht in sales at the five-day event thanks to strong replacement demand.
Ultrabooks, tablets and smartphones are expected to be the three bestselling products.
More than 30 tablet models are offered at Commart, ranging from 4,000 to 20,000 baht. But tablets priced at 17,000 baht will be the bestseller, he said.
Mr Pathom said the country's IT market is expected to grow by 12% this year, but if the industry's supply chain problems caused by flooding are not fixed, then the industry will grow by only 9%.
In the first two months of this year, IT product prices increased by 15-20% due to the hard-disk drive supply chain disruption, he added.
(c)2012 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand)
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