Singaporeans spent US$15m buying electric fans to beat the heat

SINGAPORE - For many Singaporeans melting in the sweltering heat, the traditional electric fan was literally their version of coolaid.

As temperatures in the country hit the roof, Singaporeans splashed out US$15 million buying up 250,000 electric fans in the first six months of the year, data by research agency GfK Asia showed.

Demand for these appliances went up from March onwards this year, peaking in the month of May where over 50,000 units of fans were snapped up.

"According to the meteorological service, March to May have typically been the hottest months in Singapore reaching, a maximum average of 31.7 degree Celsius and above for over six decades," said Ms Jasmine Lim, account director for home and lifestyle at GfK Asia.

"This year, Singapore experienced several periods of dry spells with higher than average temperatures recorded for March at 33 degree Celsius, which explains the increased need to cool down during this hot dry month."

The standing fan is the most popular fan type amongst Singaporean households, with one in two electrical fans sold coming from this segment. Trailing behind were table fans and floor fans, each contributing to about 15 percent of overall volume sales, GfK said.

GfK reports also showed a significant surge in air conditioner sales, which registered up to a 67 percent increase in March to May compared to the average sales volume seen in the first two months this year. Similar growth trends were reflected for air coolers, with consumers buying over USD1 million worth of the product in January to June.

"During this time when rising energy cost is a concern, the electrical fan is still the most affordable option for consumers needing to combat the heat in their homes," said Ms Lim.

"Air cons and air coolers are more effective for cooling down but there are higher cost implications, not only due to its more expensive price tag but also the effect on long term utility charges."