Second-hand not guaranteed, prices of electrical appliances rise in Idlib

Refrigerators inside a shop that sells electrical appliances in the city of Idlib - May 12, 2023 (Enab Baladi/Anas al-Khouli)

Refrigerators inside a shop that sells electrical appliances in the city of Idlib - May 12, 2023 (Enab Baladi/Anas al-Khouli)


Idlib – Anas al-Khouli

Hussein wanders around the markets of the northern city of Idlib, contemplating the storefronts selling electrical appliances and their prices, then returns empty-handed since his low monthly income makes him unable to buy.

With the rise in temperatures, shops that sell electrical appliances are witnessing a permanent demand and questions about prices, especially with regard to fans and refrigerators, and this is met by complaints from customers about their high prices compared to previous months.

The need for a refrigerator and a fan increases with the rise in temperatures to mitigate the brunt of the summer heat, but the high prices of these tools, the deterioration of economic and living conditions, and the low wages of workers prevent these devices from being obtained.

Residents rely on their participation in the active electricity companies in the area to operate various electrical tools or through solar energy panels, which have become widespread.

A shop selling electrical appliances in the northwest city of Idlib - May 12, 2023 (Enab Baladi/Anas al-Khouli)

A shop selling electrical appliances in the northwest city of Idlib – May 12, 2023 (Enab Baladi/Anas al-Khouli)

Insufficient salaries, high prices

Daily wages in the city of Idlib range between 30 and 60 Turkish liras, depending on the profession, such as construction, agriculture, and loading goods, and the different number of working hours, at an unstable pace due to the availability of such work, which are salaries that do not meet the minimum needs of the family.

Refrigerator prices start from $100 for a small desktop refrigerator up to $1,000 for a large refrigerator, and prices vary according to quality and country of manufacture, as well as air fans that start from ten dollars to $60.

Hussein Tarshan, 36, told Enab Baladi that the wage he earns from his daily work in one of the city’s bakeries does not enable him to buy a refrigerator, despite his constant attempts to accumulate money to buy it.

Tarshan added that the presence of electrical tools (a refrigerator and a fan) makes his life easier like the rest of the people, especially with the advent of summer, as the need for a refrigerator arises in order to dispense with ice blocks and its problems related to the extent of the cleanliness of the water used in its manufacture and to preserve food that quickly expires in the summer. Also, to put a small amount of supplies in the fridge.

For his part, Saeed al-Khan expressed his regret that his house in Jendires was demolished following the devastating earthquake that struck the area on February 6, which led to the destruction of all the household appliances he owned, and his urgent need to buy new ones.

Al-Khan told Enab Baladi that he used to save small sums and buy the tools he needed as necessary, but now, after the collapse of his house and the loss of all the tools, he was surprised by the prices in the markets, pointing out that the prices of the tools he bought two years ago increased by a third or more, make it difficult for him to buy any electrical device to replace the one he lost.

Used tools, “not guaranteed”

Some residents resort to buying used electrical appliances associated with their use during the summer season, as they are cheaper, but they remain vulnerable to breakdowns and increase the burden of maintenance costs, and may not work later.

Al-Khan said that he did not trust these used devices and had previously tried to buy a used fan, but it did not last long, as it quickly broke down, and its price, along with its maintenance costs, exceeded the price of a new fan.

Abdullah al-Eid, 41, a displaced person based in Idlib, said that people today are looking for cheap electrical appliances, even if they are of low quality and have low electrical expenses that suit their condition in light of the low wages of workers.

Al-Eid owns an old “Barada” refrigerator, which he brought with him from his house from which he was expelled out of the countryside of Maarat al-Numan, but he cannot use it permanently because of the large amount of electricity it consumes, so he is forced to operate it for a few hours as necessary until he buys a Turkish refrigerator that works on “half an amp,” he told Enab Baladi.

He added that he discovered that the price of the Turkish refrigerator exceeds $290, and this is a large amount that a large number of workers cannot afford from their simple income.

Open market, supply and demand

The ability of residents who rely on solar energy panels to use electrical appliances increases in the summer, which in turn leads to an increase in the demand for electrical appliances by these citizens.

The access of electricity to most regions of the north in general, and Idlib in particular, plays a role in increasing the demand for electrical appliances that operate with different capacities and standards commensurate with the amount of electricity available.

The owner of the “Kashkash” commercial company, Amer Kashkash, told Enab Baladi that the electrical appliances market in the city of Idlib is open and depends primarily on the law of supply and demand, which is why prices are constantly changing.

Kashkash added that the prices of commodities that do not find demand gradually decrease, so that he is sometimes forced to sell them at less than their cost, and in return, the prices of the required commodities with high demand rise in proportion to their availability in the markets and the intensity of demand for them.

The merchant believes that open markets that depend on the law of supply and demand are better for both the trader and the consumer, pointing out that the process of pricing electrical appliances leads to harm to the rights of customers and merchants alike.

Three reasons for prices hike

Kashkash considered that it is very normal for prices to rise with the high demand for some electrical appliances, such as refrigerators and fans, in the summer, adding that there are indications of an increase in demand compared to last year due to the supply of electricity to new areas, which pushes the residents of those areas to buy electrical appliances.

Among other reasons that increase the demand for electrical tools, a large group of citizens was affected by the devastating earthquake, and they lost the devices that they owned, and the demand to buy them from citizens who depend on solar energy to provide electricity, and the increased possibility of their consumption of electricity in the summer, which enables them to operate more power tools, according to the merchant.

Kashkash told Enab Baladi that the quality of goods offered in the markets is commensurate with the citizens’ purchasing capabilities and the competitive prices in the markets, indicating that the society in northern Syria suffers from poverty.

The merchant pointed out that the percentage of citizens who own electrical appliances with high specifications does not exceed 5%, which prompts merchants to import electrical appliances of modest quality that are commensurate with the capabilities of the people and meet their needs.

Regarding the prices of electrical appliances required in the summer, Kashkash said that the prices of refrigerators start at $100 for a small office refrigerator and end at $1,000.

Kashkash explained that the demand is concentrated on relatively small domestic refrigerators, whose price ranges between $200 and $300, according to their specifications and capabilities, while the prices of fans start from $10 to $60.

Downward forecast

The merchant expected that the prices of electrical tools would drop in the near future due to the global recession, the abundance of goods in the markets, and the decrease in shipping costs.

According to Kashkash, the Covid-19 pandemic that rocked the world two years ago led to factories stopping production and refraining from importing Chinese goods, which led to its stagnation in China.

After the end of Covid-19’s repercussions and its peak last year, there was a great demand for goods and an abundance of production, which flooded the market with huge quantities of goods, and this leads to a halt in market demand from producers, an abundance of supply and a lack of demand, and in the end, it leads to a significant drop in prices, according to Kashkash.

Another reason that may lead to lower prices is the decrease in shipping costs, as the cost of shipping one container from China was $20,000, and these costs were clearly reflected in the prices.

The cost of shipping one container has now decreased to $3,000, which will lower prices in the future, the merchant told Enab Baladi.



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