Hong Kong Watch Fair Enjoys 14 Percent Gain in Orders

The 24th annual Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair reported healthy gains in orders, an increase in foreign visitors, and optimism about 2006’s business.

The five-day trade fair in September, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, had 807 exhibitors (5 percent over 2004 figures), its biggest number yet, from 17 countries and regions. Newcomers included suppliers from Jordan and Russia.

More than 16,000 buyers attended, 5.7 percent more than in 2004. Of those, 535 were from the United States, also up 5.7 percent. Business was good, with buyers placing 14 percent more orders compared with last year’s numbers, says the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, one of its organizers. HKTDC also found a rise in per-order quantities (up 13 percent) and unit prices (up 10 percent), the latter due to higher raw-material costs, varying exchange rates, and buyers “doing more sourcing of higher-price items for the higher-end market.”

The rise in orders was supported by optimism among buyers and sellers about the watch and clock business in 2006. An independent market research company polled 410 exhibitors and 574 buyers in a survey for HKTDC. It found 52 percent of vendors and 56 percent of buyers expect business in 2006 to be “slightly better” or “much better” than in 2005. Only one in four (28 percent of exhibitors and 25 percent of buyers) expect no change.

In addition, two-thirds of buyers and exhibitors expected multifunctional watches to be hot sellers in 2006, especially those with MP3 or health or sports-related features. Two out of five said fashion watches have the greatest growth potential worldwide in 2006.

The survey also found 59 percent of exhibitors diversifying or developing business in mainland China.