HKTDC Watch & Clock Fair Draws 17,500 Buyers, a 4.5-percent Increase

September 24, 2012

The five-day HKTDC Watch & Clock Fair ended in early September, with more than 17,500 buyers participating, up 4.5 percent, compared with last year.

Some of the increases came from emerging market buyers that were up significantly, including Iran (up 32 percent), the Chinese mainland (up 17 per cent) and Russia (up 17 percent).

The Hong Kong Trade and Development Council commissioned an independent market survey agency, Actrium Solutions (HK) Ltd, to conduct a survey during the first three days of the fair.

The company interviewed 349 exhibitors and 759 buyers onsite to get their views on such issues as market prospects, product trends and purchasing methods.

The survey found that 75 percent of buyers and 70 percent of exhibitors said they expect better or similar business prospects in 2013.

At the same time, 71 percent of exhibitors and 64 percent of buyers expect production and purchasing costs also will likely rise next year, due to increasing labor costs.

Both groups feel that the China market will remain robust, and are striving to tap this new market. They are also interested in such emerging markets as ASEAN, Central America, Russia, India and the Middle East.

“Seeing relatively higher demand for luxury goods in both the China and Middle East markets, we believe they will be interested in our brand products,” said Iris Chan, marketing manager of Memorigin Trading Company, a Hong Kong exhibitor specializing in the design and manufacture of Tourbillon Watches.

She added that the company plans to explore the Chinese mainland and Middle East markets. “We consulted with five to six Middle Eastern buyers during the first three days of the fair and further negotiations will be arranged,” Chan said.

Exhibitors that have set up factories on the mainland said the costs of labor, land, raw materials, taxation and government charges have increased during the past three years and that they would be forced to raise their prices.

Responding about market trends, those who were surveyed thought that fashion watches would have the best growth potential, while quartz analogue watch and metals watch dial would be best received by the market.

They expect that industry players will develop watch products under brand licensing. The majority of responding buyers (74 percent) are not agents for brand watches, but 30 percent of them plan to be.

Graham Emmott, an Australian buyer, who owns a local retail shop, thought the show’s Small-Order Zone was a very good idea.

“It’s flexible. It helps test market responses and facilitates inventory management,” Emmott said. He located several suppliers willing to accept small orders, and placed a number of orders for brand watches at the fair.

The Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair, which ran Sept. 5-9 at the Hong Kpn Convention and Exhibition Centre, brought together 720 exhibitors from 12 countries and regions. It was organized by the HKTDC, the Hong Kong Watch Manufacturers Association Ltd, and The Federation of Hong Kong Watch Trades and Industries Ltd.

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