SME360: Household & Commercial Services – Trends & Consumer Patterns in the Home Industry

Dennis Yong, General Manager of YTL Trading Company
Benny Lim, Technical Director of Borneo Aquatics


1. A Covid-proofed industry

It stands to reason that with consumers mandatorily spending more time in their homes, they would necessarily begin trying to make the space more comfortable, spacious and nice on the eye. The resulting experiences for household servicing businesses was an influx of orders for everything from floor tiles to new doors, electronics to aquariums. Research from the US suggests 57% of homeowners opted to refurbish their homes during the first few months of 2021. This suggests that as long as people are spending time in their homes, the home industry will have an abundance of opportunity.

2. Smart Home technology is taking off

Digital door knobs and locks are just one example of smart home technologies that are increasing in popularity in Brunei and beyond. The interesting question for entrepreneurs to ask is if door locks – which have been functionally unchanged for a hundred years – are now seeing a digital transformation, what other fixtures and fittings that we have taken for granted will bring the next big opportunity for entrepreneurs to gain an edge.

3. Expanding from Sales to Maintenance for greater viability

For Borneo Aquatics a lot of thought was put into how to best turn one-off customers into those who would return and spend regularly. The answer was not to simply sell more products, but rather to expand their business suite from sales to maintenance and aftercare as well. Not only does this deepen the relationship between seller and buyer, it also ensure that customers continue to be happy exchanging value with the business.

4. Staying abreast of the competition

It is easy, in a market the size of Brunei, to think that once you have your Brick-and-Mortar business established you will no longer have threats from competition. However, online and home sellers possess the ability to cut costs and eat out a significant chunk of your revenue. Therefore, it is important to use your significant advantage of size and scale to stay in touch with trends from abroad and remain abreast of the competition.



0:50 – Introductions
6:20 – Global industry response to the pandemic
9:30 – Is this industry Covid-proof?
13:00 – The background of YTL
14:35 – Changes in consumer trends for home fittings
18:00 – The background of Borneo Aquatics
22:30 – The relevance of fishkeeping in the Brunei market
25:30 – How has the pandemic affected Borneo Aquatics
29:50 – Trending products & innovations in the Home Industry
36:40 – How has the local industry sustained themselves through Covid
38:00 – Shipping issues in the supply chain
41:30 – Borneo Aquatic Business Model & Strategy
43:10 – What can the pet business teach the rest of industry?
51:50 – Poll Results

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