Hong Kong show buyers give smartwatches the lead

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More than 19,000 buyers attended the HKTDC Watch & Clock Fair which wrapped yesterday in Hong Kong.

The 33rd annual show recorded a two percent increase in buyers attending what it calls the world’s largest timepiece event.
The fair, staged at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, is organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), Hong Kong Watch Manufacturers Association Ltd and The Federation of Hong Kong Watch Trades and Industries Ltd.

The HKTDC organized 80 buying missions involving some 3,800 buyers during the five day event including Maurice de Mauriac from Switzerland, Ur & Penn AB from Sweden, Moscow Jewelry Factory from Russia, Rivoli Group from United Arab Emirates, Synalia from France, JD.com from the Chinese mainland, and PT Gilang Agung Persada from Indonesia.

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Visiting buyers from emerging and key markets were on the increase including the United Kingdom (23%), France (14%), Germany (7%), the Chinese mainland (8%), India (37%), Korea (30%) and Thailand (28%).

Benjamin Chau, HKTDC deputy executive director, commented on the figures, saying: “The Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair is the largest show of its kind in the world, and we are attracting buyers from around the world year after year. Developing original designs and promoting brands are still the way to go, and Hong Kong’s excellent watch and clock products are well placed to capture the opportunities. The highly acclaimed Salon de TE returned after its debut last year and once again showcased a fine selection of exquisite watches that attracted buyer attention.”

Independent research commissioned by the organizers during the first three days of the show reflected an optimistic mood among 405 exhibitors and 705 buyers, who seemed confident because of continued retail price increases.

Some 40 percent of buyers and nearly 40 percent of exhibitors interviewed reported planning to either procure or sell products off the back of Hong Kong-based event. While nearly 70 percent of buyers answered that they planned to source watch and clock products from manufacturers in mainland China.

The research also reported that it was felt that North America, Western Europe, China and the Middle East would be the largest growth markets in the next 12 months.

The buyers and exhibitors also added to the unrelenting confidence in both smart watches and quartz watches, expecting both categories to be market leaders; while believing that fashion watches, smart watches and leisure watches had the highest market potential.

According to the research, product development in the coming months will see greater integration of smart functions in watches, with brand licensed and limited edition watches continuing to prove popular for new products.

E-tailing was cited as accounting for around 20 percent of total retail sales in the watch and clock industry and it is thought the sector, which consists mainly of mid-priced fashion, leisure and sports watches, will grow by 20 percent in the following year.
Interviewed buyers revealed a preference for shorter delivery lead times, maintaining a lower stock level and placing smaller orders with 70 percent stating that they source in quantities of 300 or less.

In response the Hong Kong event set up a Small Order Zone of 170 product showcases available to order in ranges between five and 1,000 pieces. The zone attracted 7,000 buyers and generated 18,000 business enquiries.

European companies were also using the show as a platform to attract business from Asian markets including the UK’s own Pocket brand from Peers Hardy, which attracted a number of sales enquiries.

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