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Christina Chin
Sunday, May 25, 2014

Malaysia

Bulk purchase groups a growing trend among frugal consumers

The Star/ANN | Christina Chin | Sunday, May 25, 2014

PETALING JAYA - Faced with rising costs, consumers in the Klang Valley and various parts of the country are banding together to pay less through bulk purchase.

At least 10 groups have been set up through Facebook and social media, attracting thousands of "friends" to participate in weekly or bi-weekly purchases, where one can buy anything from baby goods to organic food, poultry, seafood and even seasonal fruits at reduced prices.

According to organisers, consumers can enjoy discounts of up to 60 per cent through large quantity group purchases. Those ordering foodstuff are assured of getting fresh supply and also the comfort of knowing where their food is sourced from.

There are various group buys catering to different needs, with some started by ordinary wage earners or homemakers who wanted to split the costs by sharing with their FB friends.

Video producer Muhammad Adrian Wong, 35, started "Seafood Group Buy" as his pregnant wife was craving for salmon sashimi.

The minimum order for fresh Norwegian salmon was a whole 3-5kg fish, so he set up a Facebook page and offered 300g "bite-sized" portions to other cost-conscious consumers at RM72 (S$28)/kg, which is almost half of the hefty RM120/kg market price.

He now buys other fresh seafood for over 350 members.

"I also get 1kg wasabi packs to be re-packed into 100-200g bags. Per bag is four to five times cheaper than a 10g can of wasabi (from the store)," he said.

He said group buys are a growing trend as more consumers now want to know where their fresh food is coming from.

Auditor Angie Siew, 33, set up "Fresh Seafood Groupbuy" as market prices are too high.

"Group buys also bring communities closer while inspiring many 'chefs' to prepare homecooked food," she said, adding that her members save about 25-40 per cent on seafood with freebies thrown in.

One of her "craziest" group buys was 550kg of Musang King durian at 63 per cent discount.

One of the bigger groups is "Group BUY", which has close to 4,000 members and focuses on mothers. The group is administered by friends Enid Tang and Frances Yee, both in their 30s.

Working mum Yee said items for children are very expensive but members could enjoy discounts of between 40 per cent and 60 per cent because most of their items are sourced directly from suppliers.

"The latest craze is (Disney animation) Frozen. The group buy price for a Frozen towel is RM20 per piece. At departmental stores, it is at least RM50," she said.

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