USB gloves help white collars put cold on hold
With innovative new products like USB heated gloves attracting attention, the government putting a lid on energy use in offices and the mercury hitting unusual lows, sales of goods designed to keep people warm are spiking at large discount stores this winter.
Lotte Mart, one of the country’s major discount store chains, said yesterday that demand from office workers for its blankets, fluffeeters and hot packs has soared, causing overall sales to rise.
As the government rolls out measures to limit energy use in a bid to stabilize the power supply this winter, large buildings and public institutions have had to keep their indoor temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) since Dec. 3. The measure will stay in force until Feb. 22.
This has seen demand for small lap blankets spike as some companies, notably Samsung Electronics, have started handing them out to all of their employees.
Online shopping mall Auction said its sales of heating supplies targeting office workers have gone up much higher than they did last winter. It saw sales of blanket jump 912.8 percent on-year last month, while hot packs were up 267.4 percent, fluffeeters 83.3 percent and cushions 64.2 percent.
Demand continued to grow in the wake of heavy snow falls across the nation last week, when the mercury regularly sank below 10 degrees Celsius, five degrees lower on average than one year earlier.
Sales of warming products that can be used at offices shot up 40 percent at Auction on-year in December. USB-type heating appliances for office provided a boost, as did products designed to warm up cold fingers and toes to help the legions of desk-bound white-collar workers who spend their days punching keyboards.
Fingerless USB heated gloves, which plug in to computers and run an electrical current through the garment, and a heated mouse were among the most popular products at Auction last month, it said. Other hot sellers include a USB feet heater, fitted with fluffy down inside; hot packs, sales of which rose 20 percent; and so-called knee blankets, up 30 percent.
Other popular idea goods for this winter include the heat-generating insole that can be put inside shoes to keep the feet warm, while also making the wearer appear slightly taller, and a USB lunch box that can keep food warm.
“Due to the concerns about a possible power shortage that caused the government to issue tougher regulations on office room temperatures, workers are finding it more uncomfortable on a day-to-day basis. So we are selling many more products to beat the cold this winter,” said Yang Jong-soo, product manager at Auction.
Sales of other supplementary heating supplies including winter clothes and mini fan heaters also climbed, with fluffy tights up 153.2 percent. Sales growth of men’s undergarments vastly outpaced that of women’s underclothes, Auction said. Tiny desk heaters were up 81.8 percent on-year, it added.
“As the cold wave is expected to continue, we have doubled the number of heating supplies,” said Kwak Joo-hee, managing director of Lotte Mart’s home electronics division.
Lotte, Shinsegae and Hyundai Department Store also saw their sales surge as the cold spell spurred demand for items like mufflers, gloves and duck down jackets, they said.
“We expect the trend to continue due to our ongoing sales events,” said Hong Jung-pyo at Shinsegae Department Store.
By Kim Jung-yoon [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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