|Over 47,000 Buyers Attend Hong Kong Houseware Fair and International Home Textiles & Furnishings Fair
Survey: 77% Expect Overall Sales to Grow or Remain Steady;
Simple Designs to Lead the Market
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24 April 2016 – The 31st Hong Kong Houseware Fair and the seventh Hong Kong International Home Textiles and Furnishings Fair concluded yesterday. The two fairs, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), ended their four-day run successfully by welcoming a total of more than 47,000 buyers from 114 countries and regions. Around 29,000 buyers visited the Houseware Fair, while over 18,000 buyers attended the Home Textiles and Furnishings Fair. Attendance from the Chinese mainland, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Argentina saw satisfactory growth.
Buying missions, business matching services create opportunities
“With the uncertainties surrounding the global economy, the fairs have provided an important platform for enterprises to seek new orders and source competitive products,” said HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Benjamin Chau. “We noticed that buyers are particularly interested in unique and original designs, and branded products are also sought after. We have also strived to provide a more effective trading experience and create more business opportunities for the industry by organising buying missions and offering business matching services.” This year, the HKTDC organised 125 overseas buying missions comprising more than 7,000 buyers to help exhibitors tap into more markets.
Arnaud Franquenk, Branding & Export Manager of French exhibitor Prodige, said he had met two important buyers from the Chinese mainland through the HKTDC’s business matching service. “This is our first time to exhibit at the Houseware Fair,” he said. “We are keen to develop the Asia-Pacific markets through the fair. Buyer response has been very positive. We have met several potential customers from the Chinese mainland, New Zealand and the UK.”
Industry cautiously optimistic about prospects
To understand the latest trends and developments of the houseware market, the HKTDC commissioned an independent on-site survey, interviewing more than 520 buyers and exhibitors. The survey found that the respondents are cautiously optimistic about market prospects. Thirty-two per cent of respondents said they expect overall sales to grow this year, while 45 per cent expect sales to remain steady. In terms of pricing, 22 per cent of respondents expect prices to increase in the coming year, while 60 per cent predict that they will remain unchanged. As for the growth prospects of different regions, the respondents regard the Chinese mainland as the most promising market, followed by North America and Korea.
The survey also sought respondents’ views on product trends. Most respondents expect simple and trendy designs, and multi-functional products to lead the market in 2016. The survey also found that the industry favours Hong Kong as a sourcing hub and trading platform; 91 per cent of respondents expect the volume of products sold via Hong Kong to increase or remain unchanged this year, up 11 percentage points compared to the findings in last year’s survey. Almost all (99%) respondents expect the volume of products sourced via Hong Kong to increase or remain the same in 2016, up 14 percentage points over the previous year.
Creative products shine in a sluggish market
In today’s lacklustre market environment, creative and distinctive designs are key to helping brands stand out. Local silicone kitchen gadgets manufacturer DAKA, an exhibitor in the Hall of Elegance where renowned houseware brand names converge, is known for its original designs. This year, the company used the fair to showcase an array of new products, some of which received a “Red Dot Award”. Jesse Emery Chow, DAKA’s Business Development Director, said they had met 50 per cent more clients in the first two days of the fair this year compared to last year. He had also met new buyers from Europe, Japan and the US, including two potential distributors from France and Japan.
Another exhibitor at the Hall of Elegance, Japanese brand Interform, which is known for its unique clocks, indoor lighting and bathroom products, had previously halted its export business due to unfavourable external economic conditions. This year the company attended the Houseware Fair as part of its strategy to restart its export activities. Kenji Fujiwara, the company’s Overseas and Product Development Division Manager, said they had been busy meeting with buyers from Australia, France, New Zealand, Norway, the US and South America, who were very interested in their in-house designed products.
Many buyers said they attended the concurrent fairs to source new products. Italian household products retailer Galileo has an annual turnover of about €100 million. The company has been sourcing at the fairs for a number of years. Buyer Raffaella Moscardino said she always found interesting new products at the fairs every year, and this year was no exception. She said she had found several mat suppliers from India and had already placed orders for fragrance sets with several exhibitors. Ms Moscardino said she expected to spend US$500,000 or more on different products.
New brand name collections stimulate market demand
New inspirations from top brands help to stimulate market demand. Having enjoyed good results at last year’s Home Textiles and Furnishings Fair, PT Indah Jaya Textile Industry from Indonesia, returned this year to the Hall of Glamour to showcase a new collection of high-quality towels from its luxury brand Terry Palmer, targeting the hotel industry. Tenti Aizah, the company’s Marketing Manager said they had successfully attracted serious buyers from Hong Kong, the Philippines, the UK and Australia.
Buyers also use the fairs to seek out new suppliers to expand product lines. Charatpong Chotigavanich, Vice President of Marketing of T.S. Gen Co., Ltd., which operates more than 20 retail shops in Thailand, said he had found around 20 potential suppliers of various products, such as bedding, bedroom decor and bathroom items. He expected to place orders worth between HK$600,000 and HK$1 million to serve the company’s business expansion needs.
Gifts & Premium Fair, Printing & Packaging Fair to open on Wednesday
Following the Houseware Fair and Home Textiles and Furnishings Fair, the 31st Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair and the 11th Hong Kong International Printing & Packaging Fair will open on Wednesday (27 April) and continue through 30 April at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and the AsiaWorld-Expo, respectively. The two fairs will gather more than 4,700 exhibitors from 36 countries and regions, showcasing an assortment of trendy gifts, printing products and related technologies to meet the diverse needs of industry players.