The seven fairs organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) in April welcomed a total of nearly 224,000 buyers, up one per cent year-on-year, and generated more than HK$1.3 billion for the local economy.
More than 127,000 buyers (57%) came from the Chinese mainland and overseas. Attendance from the United States and a number of Western Europe countries recorded growth. Buyers from both the US and the United Kingdom increased four per cent, while those from Germany increased six per cent and Swiss buyers rose 10 per cent year-on-year. For emerging markets, buyer attendance from the Chinese mainland remained steady, with a slight increase of around two per cent. Attendance from India and the Philippines saw significant increases of 23 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.
“Despite some uncertainties such as the slowing economic growth in certain Asian economies, the pending US rate hike and the strengthening Hong Kong currency, buyer attendance at our fairs recorded growth. This indicates that Hong Kong remains an established sourcing platform for buyers,” said HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Benjamin Chau. “The fairs have also made an enormous economic contribution to Hong Kong. According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, per capita spending of overnight MICE visitors averaged over HK$9,400 during their stay. Based on this figure, the total amount spent by overseas buyers and exhibitors during the seven April fairs would have amounted to more than HK$1.3 billion, not to mention the earnings from trade orders and related business services.”
Cost Pressures Prompt Caution
With exhibitors and buyers coming from all over the world, the HKTDC fairs serve as a barometer of market sentiment and product trends. The Council commissioned an independent market research agency to conduct interviews during the lighting, electronics, houseware and gifts fairs. A total of more than 2,700 exhibitors and buyers were interviewed.
Survey respondents were generally cautious about market prospects, with 44 per cent expecting overall sales to grow in 2015, down nine per cent compared to a similar survey last year. Forty per cent expect overall sales to remain steady, up from 32 per cent last year.
The surveys also revealed that cost pressure concerns are expected to linger throughout 2015 with respondents agreeing that it would be difficult to transfer the additional costs to consumers. More than 50 per cent of the exhibitors expect the production and sourcing costs to rise, but just 23 per cent anticipate the FOB (Free On Board) selling price will increase, and 59 per cent expect the FOB selling price would remain unchanged. As for buyers, close to half (48%) of the respondents expect the sourcing price to rise, but only 34 per cent anticipate the retail price will increase, and over half of them (52%) expect the retail price to remain unchanged.
Other survey findings included:
– Traditional markets have regained traction with North America having the highest growth potential, followed by Western Europe and Australia and the Pacific.
– For the emerging markets, the Chinese mainland is seen as the most promising market for growth, followed by ASEAN countries and India.
– For emerging export markets, eight per cent of exhibitors consider Eastern Europe (excluding Russia) as their main market, while seven per cent identified the ASEAN countries, an increase of five per cent and two per cent respectively over the previous year.
Major product trends:
– 86 per cent expect smart cities and smart homes to facilitate the lighting industry in the coming two years.
– Most respondents expect household lighting systems that are compatible with, or can be controlled by smartphone/tablet applications, to achieve the highest growth
– Smartphones will trend towards high-end models.
– For tablets, when compared to last year, more respondents expect the mid-range and low-end models to increase at a faster rate than at present.
– Mobile battery chargers and power bank packs, as well as smartphone and tablet accessories are likely to benefit the most from the growth of smartphones and tablets.
– More respondents expect Wi-Fi-enabled cameras/action cameras, smart watches, as well as high-priced and high-quality headphones/earphones to achieve market growth
– Products likely to enjoy the highest growth prospects: kitchenware & gadgets (18 per cent) and home decorations (15 per cent)
Gifts and premium
– Products likely to enjoy the highest growth prospects: advertising gifts & premium (17%) and tech gifts (12%)
The seven April fairs were: the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair (Spring Edition), Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition), International ICT Expo, Hong Kong Houseware Fair, Hong Kong International Home Textiles & Furnishings Fair, Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair, as well as the Hong Kong International Printing & Packaging Fair, which was co-organised by the HKTDC and CIEC Exhibition Company (HK) Limited.
Small and frequent orders continue to be the sourcing trend among buyers. During the fairs, the hktdc.com Small Orders zone welcomed close to 84,000 buyer visits, generating nearly 78,000 business connections. The online transaction platform (http://smallorders.hktdc.com) showcases more than 108,000 products from over 6,600 suppliers. Since its official launch at the end of last year, the online platform has already generated over 1.2 million business connections.