BUSINESSNews

Demand for work-from-home products has slows as workers return to offices


Demand for work-from-home products such as laptops, desktop computers, tablets, and other home office appliances has slowed down as people troop back to their offices following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

According to regional e-commerce giant Jumia, the electronics category – which performed well during the pandemic – has taken a big hit this year as consumers continue to tighten their purse strings in the wake of skyrocketing cost of living.

“The e-commerce businesses with a stronger focus on electronic products have seen decreasing demand post-covid-19 – as supply is tighter and customers spend less on electronics and more on everyday essentials,” Jumia chief commercial officer Kenneth Oyolla said during a vendor conference in Nairobi on Friday.

The event which hosted close to 200 vendors was aimed at recognizing the sellers and guiding them on how to leverage the Annual Jumia Black Friday to grow their businesses.

The campaign runs from November 3 to November 30.

During the annual event, retailers offer price cuts to spur shoppers’ interest in items such as smartphones, laptops, smart TVs, and other electronic gadgets.

“Despite the current economic pressure, we are optimistic that we will end the year on a positive note,” Mr Oyolla said, adding that demand for smart TVs is likely to grow ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup that kicks off on November 20.

Jumia chief executive Juan Seco said the New York-listed company had opened a new warehouse on Mombasa Road to increase storage capacity for its vendors.

“We urge our vendors to explore storage options with our new integrated warehouse which will provide increased storage capacity for businesses and offer better warehouse operations,” Mr. Seco said.

Meanwhile, Jumia has reported a strong rebound in beauty and fashion product sales as life returns to normal after months of strict Covid-19 restrictions.

The two categories were severely hit as the first wave of the pandemic swept across the country in March 2020, forcing people to change their lifestyles.

The work-from-home model, prohibition of social gatherings, and the mandatory wearing of facemasks resulted in a sharp decline in demand for cosmetics and clothing as people were unable to go out and socialize.

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