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Electric blanket sales from China soar as Europeans face high fuel bills

With the energy crisis sweeping Europe, consumers are turning to electric blankets from China.

The energy crisis sweeping Europe is pushing consumers thousands of miles away to find a solution: electric blankets from China.

Export data points to a surge that has bolstered the fortunes of companies such as Shenzhen-based UTK Technology Ltd., a manufacturer and seller of the blankets on e-commerce website Alibaba, confirming demand has hit an all-time high this month. .

Daily inquiries from European buyers have increased fivefold, with most people asking for urgent shipping, according to Crane Jin, UTK general manager. The company expects to ship more than 10,000 blankets to the continent in the next month.

“We’ve been working a lot of overtime lately,” she says.

Europe is bracing for a difficult winter as rising natural gas prices and a supply shortage caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine prompt governments to draft energy rationing plans. Households, already battered by soaring inflation, are looking for savings as they face eye-watering increases in energy bills.

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Electric blankets, embedded with thin electrical wires that dissipate heat once plugged in, cost less than a third to run compared to some stoves, according to EnergyAustralia estimates. That’s largely because they’re intended to warm the user up close rather than heating an entire room.

British retailers confirm the trend. Department store chain John Lewis Partnership Plc says sales of electric blankets are up 67% from a year earlier, and online searches for the products are up nearly 470%. And the blankets belong to Amazon. com Inc.’s best-selling home and kitchen products in the UK.

Interest has begun to grow in recent months, perhaps as retailers began stockpiling. Customs data published by the China Household Electrical Appliances Association shows that total exports of electrical blankets to Europe from January to July were $33.4 million, nearly double the figure for all of last year.

Demand has boosted shares of Chengdu Rainbow Appliance Group, a blanket manufacturer in China’s Sichuan province. The company said in an exchange filing last Friday that while it has received foreign export stakes, the small amounts involved and domestic focus mean the trend will not substantially affect income levels. That didn’t deter investors: the stock shot up Monday at the daily cap of 10%, closing at its highest price since April 2021.

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