At the 29th Hong Kong Gift & Premium Show, held April 27-30, a record-breaking 4,136 exhibitors from 35 countries welcomed approximately 50,000 visitors to the world's largest gift show, featuring product categories such as advertising gifts & premiums, business accessories, writing instruments, watches, travel items and packaging.
According to the show's organizers – the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Hong Kong Exporters' Association – the total exports of gifts and premium items from Hong Kong in the first two month of 2014 was $3.3 billion. In 2013, the total exports were $24 billion, up 1% from 2012.
With a greater emphasis on product aesthetics, the show continued to highlight its Hall of Fine Design, Design Village and the Isle of Originality, in addition to presenting its third annual gift design awards. Product trends at the show included items for the health and wellness industry that are multifunctional, such as wristbands that contain bug-repellent and can monitor the wearer's heart rate. There is also a subtle shift on display, with an emphasis on products manufactured from wood, corrugated cardboard, felt, cork and coconut leaves rather than the traditional plastics and silicone-based items.
"This year we've tweaked our marketing from 'touchy-feely' with lots of eclectic products in the booth, putting more focus on graphic and industrial design services," says Conor O'Donovan, CEO of the ODM Group, which does business with North American promo companies. “Our Mindsparkz design team are based out of Zhuhai in South China and the designers sit in the same room as merchandisers. A buzz phrase at the booth was 'Design for Manufacture' in China and there were lots of interesting projects for new product development."
On a macro level, O'Donovan said, "we felt that trade show attendance was down a bit, but the quality was still there, as there are lots of companies looking to invest on product design and diversify their product range."
And with a nod to importers who are just getting started or who import on a more modest scale, the show's Small Order Zone – which features Asian vendors willing to sell only five to 1,000 pieces – continued to grow in popularity as one of the most visited areas of the show.
Next year's Hong Kong Gift Show will be held from April 27-30, 2015. For more information, go to www.hktdc.com.