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CORONAVIRUS: Not All Doom & Gloom For Audio, CE & Appliance Retailers

Big audio brands are air-freighting stock into Australia, as consumers with money look to entertain themselves at home while demand from work at home consumers is soaring.

According to Bowers & Wilkins Australia CEO Philip Newton he has been forced to airfreight top end B&W speakers to meet demand.

“We are still seeing demand for premium speakers which is why we have had to airfreight stock” he said.

Len Wallis the importer of Monitor Audio speakers has also moved to airfreight stock.

“We had one shipment coming from Australia when we were told that the freight cost had risen due to a lack of aircraft and limited logistic resources”.

Audio is not the only market where suppliers are moving to airfreight stock.

Sam Skontos the CEO of TCL Mobile said that freight costs have doubled in recent weeks.

“We have been looking to airfreight SIM based routers as demand has skyrocketed due to so many people working from home”.

“Where someone like Cathay Pacific had six flights a day coming into Australia there is now none. Freight rates have increased due to limited capacity” he said.

One industry executive who lives in the affluent suburb of Mosman said “Those with money are bored, they can’t go overseas, they can’t go out to eat and they are now investing in premium sound and home entertainment system because they are confined to home. This is one market that is still there to be served with both consumer electronics and audio products”.

Several analysts that ChannelNews has spoken to claim that it’s not all “doom and gloom” for the consumer electronics and appliance Job increases in manufacturing supermarkets and major food and pharmacy outlets, agriculture, distribution, transport and call centres as well as the expansion of Government employees are seen as markets for CE retailers in a downturn.

“These markets still have a salary and are employed, and they will still need to buy consumer electronics”. A Citi analyst said.

John Winning the CEO of Winnings and Appliances Online, claims that he is already seeing increased demand from stay at home families who are looking to replace small appliances, laundry and refrigeration products.

“There is demand out there, whether it be for a home bread maker, a freezer for food or a small fridge for medical supplies” he said.

There were 900 more jobs offered in state and territory hospitals in March than in February, including doctors, nurses and nurse support workers, but other sectors are also experiencing demand.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Education, Skills and Employment said there had been growth in logistics jobs such as truck drivers, store persons, shelf fillers and in some retail jobs such as pharmacists, checkout operators and commercial cleaners.

The Age recently reported that in manufacturing, demand increased in the categories of medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, food and groceries.

There was also increased activity in hiring for local and long-distance transport workers and in logistics and warehousing.

Supermarkets, pharmacies and food outlets are hiring as are IT and call centres, the agriculture and harvesting sectors, hospitals and care facilities.

Food delivery services, such as Deliveroo, are booming as we bunker down and rely more on their services.

Telstra is looking to recruit 1000 temporary contractors to help manage its call centre volumes and cope with excess demand.

On Friday, Woolworths announced it would employee a further 20,000 people to meet growing demand at its supermarkets.

It follows the lead of Coles, which earlier this month advertised 5000 jobs to deal with panic buying sprees which marred the start of government-enforced restrictions.

The state government is also in the midst of establishing a $500 million fund to help workers who have lost their jobs find new opportunities, including work cleaning public infrastructure or delivering food.

Pizza chain, Domino’s recently put out a call for 2000 extra delivery drivers. It was swamped by over 15,000 applicants.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Holmesglen Institute of Tafe, one of Victoria’s largest vocational training providers is set to unveil a state-of-the-art tunnelling centre to replicate complex civil engineering projects like the Metro Tunnel.

The institute’s chief executive officer Mary Faraone said construction industry jobs will still be needed.

“The Victorian government has committed to a formidable program of infrastructure
development that includes major transport projects such as the Metro Rail Tunnel,” Ms Faraone said.

“In this environment, there will be opportunities to move people from jobs in services to civil
construction where there are plenty of jobs.”

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