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Spoiled For Choice(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 09,2007)

Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Houseware & Toys 2007

 

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There was something for everyone at one of the fastest-growing trade shows on the international calendar

The Summer Sourcing Show again lived up to its hard-earned reputation as a key mid-season event, with international buyers worldwide finding new, exciting and unique gifts, houseware and toys.

Typical of their number was Peter Quinn, director of wholesale distributor Clearview Marketing Ltd, which is based in Auckland, New Zealand. "We import ornamental giftware, such as polyresin products, ceramics and ornaments," he explained. "Our major supplier source is China, where prices are good and there is good value for money."

Clearview also manufactures a variety of sun catchers using components from Swarovski. "We sell only in New Zealand, which is a very small, very competitive and very hard market," Quinn said, noting that the market was diminishing as many of the big retailers were importing direct.

He was attending the Summer Sourcing Show for the first time, having visited other TDC gift fairs. "I am here to find out what is hot as the market is always changing, and to get some future contacts and samples," Quinn explained.

"I've already seen some interesting products, including a range of mosaic ornamental gardenware like tiles, lights and glass that are attractive and slightly different from what is available in New Zealand."

Quinn said he "always benefits" from Hong Kong fairs. "If I can get one new supplier, that's fine, but I got two this morning," he noted. "One of them is a mainland gardenware supplier, and the other a Hong Kong crystal supplier."

Another buyer convinced of the Summer Sourcing Show's value was three-time attendee David Schwarzrock of Wisconsin company National Premium, which imports promotional products for its clients.

"I love to come to the Hong Kong shows to keep up with new items," the account executive admitted, adding that he always found "new, really cool" products.

Schwarzrock was buying for the first quarter of 2008 and was seeking new items that he could use to promote some of National Premium's special projects. "Essentially, old-style products that have been overlooked," he explained. "We've already found some retro-style items - coolers, clocks, radios and popcorn makers."

The Chinese mainland is National Premium's biggest supply source. "Compared with its neighbours, China gives us a lot more variety and the sophistication and quality of the products coming out of the country has got a lot better," he said.

These products are sold around the US and around the world. "We have several offices - one in Chicago, Minneapolis, our main office in Pewaukee and two in Florida," Schwarzrock explained. "Plus, we have affiliated offices in Shanghai and Glasgow."

He believed the hottest items in the US market this year would be computer items, although National Premium is currently handling a lot of backpacks, soft bags, custom-coloured and custom-embroidered bags.

"Our clients are looking for new hi-tech items, and iPod-related products seem to be big right now," Schwarzrock added. "But we are also doing a lot of stainless-steel items like can coolers, as well as baseball caps, metal items, and apparel such as T-shirts and jackets."

Technology research was motivating Tanomwong Mangkalarangsee, the marketing director of printing factory Best Graphic Press Ltd Part, which is based in Bangkok.

"Our wide-ranging products include business cards, leaflets, brochures, posters, books, folders and big maps," Mangkalarangsee explained, who noted that his firm prints "mainly on paper" but also on PP. "I've come to find innovative ideas for both products and packaging."

She had only been at the Summer Sourcing Show for an hour but had already seen "many things" of interest, including a foldable paper box and many creative, printed PP gift bags and boxes.

"Printing is traditionally done on paper, but as people want to protect trees I think the future trend will be to use more PP instead," Mangkalarangsee predicted. "This exhibition has helped me a lot in exploring the use of PP in printing."

She also found a few products she might import for wholesale to Thai retail shops, including a multipurpose key chain that can be used as a hook and small transparent boxes that can be stacked together like Lego bricks. "I am very happy with this fair," Mangkalarangsee claimed. "I plan to look around for all four days."

Another buyer busy researching was Khankan Giath, deputy director of Moscow-based Randik, which imports mostly houseware items such as coffee cups and teacups for sale in Russia.

"We import mainly from China and sometimes from Taiwan," Khankan explained. "These suppliers offer good prices and cater to your specific needs - you can order whatever you like."

He was optimistic about his industry because consumption of goods increased as Russia developed. "The biggest worry is that prices for materials such as oil are increasing and this will make goods more expensive," Khankan revealed.

The company had attended this fair several times but it was Khankan's first visit. "This time we are looking for houseware and gift items, especially products that are not in the Russian market at the moment," he explained.

"We want to develop our product lines and bring new items to our market and this fair will help us in that regard as there is a wide range of products such as bags that will be big sellers in Russia," Khankan said, and added that he was also meeting his Hong Kong purchasing agent.

Given these enthusiastic reports, it is clear that the fifth edition of the Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Houseware and Toys in 2008 will be equally popular with exhibitors and buyers alike.

 

BOOMING BUSINESS

Asia's top mid-season event for sourcing products and launching new businesses featured thousands of innovative items, including gifts, home furnishings, kitchenware, gadgets, sporting goods, toys and party goods.

The fourth edition of the Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Houseware and Toys organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in July provided an ideal opportunity for promotion and sourcing between the traditional buying seasons of April and October.

The four-day show welcomed more than 820 exhibitors from 17 countries and regions, including Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the US and Vietnam, along with first-time exhibitors from Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

This year's show included eight theme zones for easy sourcing:

  • Dining and Cooking
  • Fun and Play
  • Gift Ideas
  • Home Living
  • Ladies' World
  • Style and Decor
  • Costume Jewellery - a new zone dedicated to fashion jewellery
  • Treasure Island - the premium section highlighting top-of-the-range brand names and products of superior design and craftsmanship

The TDC organised 80 buying missions to the fair, including more than 4,000 buyers from the Chinese mainland, Europe, Japan, the Middle East, South Africa and the US.

Visitors were also kept abreast of the latest market and product trends through a series of seminars that covered toy industry trends, the toy "Technotainment" market, developments in the UK giftware industry, environmental management in the houseware industry and assessing buyers from traditional and emerging markets.

The new free tdctrade.com sourcing business matching service helped buyers locate exhibitors with preferred merchandise.

Buyers could also participate in a Wheel of Fortune game that offered winners a range of local delicacies.

The Hong Kong Licensing Show 2007 that showcased nearly 300 licensed brands and properties opened the same day as the Summer Sourcing Show and attracted 120 exhibitors from 11 countries and regions.

A highlight of the licensing show was the Premier Asian Licensing Awards recognising outstanding achievements in the development and promotion of licensed properties and trademarks.

The two shows reflect Hong Kong's continuing success in gifts, houseware and toys, with exports of the latter increasing 33.2% over the same period in 2006 to HK$30.6bn in the first five months of 2007.

Houseware exports amounted to HK$76.6bn for the first five months of the year, an increase of 15.2%, while gifts worth HK$59.6bn were shipped from January through May, up 1.5% over the same period last year.

TEXT BY LIZA LEE