Coronavirus outbreak boosts Taiwan's e-commerce market

E-tailers announce 200 more job opportunities as public stays in and demand ramps up for food deliveries

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Scooter packed with packages on Taipei street.

Scooter packed with packages on Taipei street. (Taiwan News photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As Taiwanese go out less to shop and dine due to coronavirus (COVID-19) fears, the e-commerce market has flourished.

According to PChome 24h, the second-largest Taiwan e-tailer, its sales of food and beverages doubled after Taiwanese returned to work following the Lunar New Year vacation. The top three best-selling products included instant noodles, rice, and milk powder.

The e-commerce platform believes, according to a CNA report, that people are choosing to eat at home rather than dine out. Instant noodles and rice are popular items, while milk powder for infants is also selling fast.

Buy123, an e-tailer owned by KuoBrothers, has experienced a similar boost, with sales of prepared food climbing by up to 30 percent over the past two weeks. The company's top three food items are said to be dumplings, rice, pizza, and scallion pancakes.

The news agency pointed out PChome recently advertised 200 job opportunities, with engineers and logistics specialists among the most wanted. KuoBrothers is also recruiting engineers through Taiwan's biggest job-hunting site, 104.com, with the highest monthly salary NT$100,000 ($3,289.26) per month.

On the other hand, bricks and mortar retailers are facing a first quarter challenge. Department stores in Taipei's Xinyi District said sales had tanked 40 to 70 percent due to decreasing footfall.

Breeze is said to be dismissing up to 30 percent of its workforce, the largest ever annual organizational adjustment. More than 100 workers will be affected, UDN reported.