10 May 2012 – Seven major trade fairs organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) last month drew more than 202,000 buyers, and created business opportunities for more than 10,800 exhibitors from around the world.
At a news briefing highlighting the seven HKTDC April trade fairs, HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Benjamin Chau noted that the majority of buyers and exhibitors were positive about market prospects, adding that manufacturers were increasingly looking to add value to their products through new design and materials
The HKTDC’s April fairs were: the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair (Spring Edition), the Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition), the International ICT Expo, the Hong Kong Houseware Fair, the Hong Kong International Home Textiles and Furnishings Fair, the Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair, and the Hong Kong International Printing and Packaging Fair.
An independent company commissioned by the HKTDC interviewed some 2,500 buyers and exhibitors at four of these trade fairs for their views on trends and developments in the lighting, electronics, gift and houseware industries. About 80 per cent of respondents said they expected better market opportunities and a steady or growing turnover this year in their respective industries.
April is traditionally a peak season for trade fairs, and the seven HKTDC fairs together attracted more than 202,000 buyers. They included more than 110,000 buyers from 174 countries and regions.
According to the most recent industry survey, the average spending of each overseas business traveller during his stay in Hong Kong is about HK$11,000. From this, it can be calculated that overseas buyers and exhibitors at the HKTDC’s seven April fairs brought in more than HK$1.4 billion to Hong Kong. And this does not take into account earnings from the placing of orders or the use of related trade support services by overseas buyers.
“At the end of last year, traders were worried about export performance this year,” said HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Benjamin Chau. “Judging from our seven April fairs, however, the concerns don’t seem to have been borne out. The survey showed that about 80 per cent of the buyers and exhibitors interviewed were positive about market prospects.”
Eye on Emerging Markets
According to the survey, exhibitors expect significant increases in sales to such emerging markets as Brazil, Russia, India and the Chinese mainland, as well as the ASEAN countries, with the mainland considered the most promising market. Some 70 per cent of the exhibitors in the lighting industry and about 40 per cent from the electronics, houseware and gift industries indicated that they intended to expand into emerging markets.
More than 30 per cent of the lighting fair exhibitors and 40 per cent of their counterparts in the electronics and houseware industries said they would raise the prices of their products because of rising production costs. Close to half the gift fair exhibitors indicated that they also expected an upward adjustment of prices. The survey showed that the majority of buyers were prepared for price hikes, with more than 50 per cent of those interviewed saying they expected an increase in procurement expenditures.
Products in Demand
Interviewed on trends in lighting, electronics, gift and houseware products, exhibitors and buyers said they thought that eco-friendly and high-tech products would be most sought after, with popular designer labels also likely to attract interest. Buyers said that next to competitive prices, consumers were increasingly going after product quality. “The survey indicates that consumers are insisting on quality products, even if they have to buy less,” said Mr Chau.
“In recent years, green products and simple design have been very well received, while the popularity of own-label products has equalled major labels. To stand out in the market, manufacturers are increasingly looking to add value to their products through research and development, new design and materials,” he added.
High Quality, Small Quantity
Survey findings also showed changes in sales and procurement patterns. More than 30 per cent of respondents said that, with the shortening of delivery time and the maintenance of low stock levels prevalent in recent years, they may place smaller orders. More than half the interviewed buyers at the lighting fair said they had purchased products in quantities of 1,000 pieces or less, while more than 30 per cent of the interviewed buyers at the electronics fair, houseware fair and the gift fair said they had placed small orders.
Responding to the increasing demand for small-order suppliers, the HKTDC launched a Small-Order Zone at the electronics fair, the houseware fair and the gift fair, giving exhibitors and buyers an opportunity to display and source products in quantities as small as 50 pieces. The Small-Order Zone at the three fairs attracted almost 50,000 buyer visits, generating more than 30,000 business enquiries. Buyers can also place small orders online. The Small-Order Zone at www.hktdc.com/so has received 25,000 enquiries since its launch in February.
“With smaller orders, buyers have more flexible cash flow and can adjust their strategies according to circumstances,” said Mr Chau. Following the success of the Small-Order Zone among exhibitors and buyers at the April fairs, the HKTDC plans to continue offering it at select trade fairs in future.
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About the HKTDC
A statutory body established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and service providers. With more than 40 global offices, including 11 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and throughout Asia. The HKTDC also organises trade fairs and business missions to connect companies with opportunities in Hong Kong and on the mainland, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and online. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com
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