Hong Kong Show Reveals Product Trends

Eco, Tech Gadgets Lead The Way

Hong Kong ShowOpening this past Saturday, the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair, one of the largest trade shows in the world for promotional products, showcased more than 4,000 exhibitors from 37 countries. The trade show's traffic, however, was noticeably slower from previous years. "The last time we were at this show was 2011 and the entire Convention Center was filled with booths," said Brian Starke, co-owner of the Toronto-based supplier Bravo Awards. "This year two full floors were not used."

Product trends from the show included a plethora of Bluetooth-capable items, tech gadgets, smart phone accessories and eco-friendly products. "We're getting more requests from our clients for items with more sustainability," said Albert van der Veen, CEO of XD Design, an offshoot of Xindao. "They want to know about a product's DNA and that there's social responsibility involved with the manufacturing."

Van der Veen's company, which has won numerous awards for its innovative, retail-inspired items and is considered a market leader for product aesthetics and creative packaging, has launched 300 new products in 2013 and plans 72 more in August. "What I've noticed in the past two years is that the trend is not the products; it's the story behind the products – where the components were sourced, are they made in a responsible way, are we considering how the products can be recycled," he said. "That's the conversation."

And while Europe is still having its economic challenges, Hong Kong – like North America – is experiencing growth in the gift market. "We are happy to see that Hong Kong exporters' confidence improved gradually as revealed in the latest HKTDC Export Index," said Benson Pau, vice chairman of the Hong Kong Exporters' Association at the event's press conference. "For gift exports specifically, in 2012 it increased by 6% compared to 2011, amounting to $24 billion USD. In the first 3 months of 2013, Hong Kong's total export in gifts and premiums was close to $5 billion USD, representing a 4% growth."

Pau pointed out that similar to the global economy, "gift exports also reveal a swing towards emerging economies." The group has seen accelerating export growth in the first three months of 2013 in the Czech Republic (+118%), Russia (+62%), Saudi Arabia (+45%) and Turkey (+22%).

The 2014 Hong Kong Gift & Premium Fair will be held next April 27-30. For more information, go to www.hktdc.com/hkgiftspremiumfair.