The annual Hong Kong Optical Fair continues to grow in significance with an extraordinary 16,000 buyers from 103 countries flocking to discover new products hitting the market.
The 25th edition of the HKTDC Hong Kong Optical Fair (HKTDC) presented visiting optometrists with a valuable opportunity to review the latest frames, lenses and technologies from Asia and Europe. With a record-setting 800 companies exhibiting at the November 2017 event, Benjamin Chau, Deputy Executive Director of the HKTDC, said the annual optical fair is “a major promotion and sourcing platform for the international eyewear industry”.
Mr. Chau said global demand for eyewear products continues to climb. Indeed, there was a strong contingent of buyers from emerging markets, including the Chinese mainland, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. Mature markets, including France, Canada and the United Kingdom were also well represented.
High-end Brands and Technology on Show
global demand for eyewear products continues to climb
The 2017 Brand Name Gallery featured 225 top international brands and designer collections, among them ic! berlin, People By People; Matsuda, Coco Song and Stepper. French company, Light Optical, which operates six eyewear stores in France visited the Fair for the first time. Benjamin Zeitoun, Director General of the company said he attended the Fair to find OEM manufacturers and get some new ideas as he plans to launch his own brand next year. He met exhibitors from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and France, and planned to buy about 15,000 pieces.
Exhibitor Shutoo Gazazzi Optical from Hong Kong was showing off the new “shutter sunglasses”. Incorporating Swiss technology shutters automatically transition from sunglasses to plain glasses in less than 0.5 seconds and vice versa. Shutoo Gazazzi had installed a tunnel to demonstrate the technology.
Contact Lenses and E-tailing on Trend
Industry professionals and experts were invited to a series of seminars that examined the latest market trends and product styles. Gianni Cossar, Global Director for Optics and Eyewear at Italian research institute GfK presented on the contact lens market in Asia, the growth of which he said reflects the increasing wealth of Asia’s emerging economies. He said an overall revenue of US$652 million for contact lens sales was reached across five key Asian countries (South Korea, China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia) in the first eight months of 2017, with Korea accounting for 46.6 per cent of all sales in the region.
“As the socio-economic development in the region continues, APAC consumers’ purchasing power growth starts also impacting their eye health care awareness. This interesting trend is reflected in growing attention towards daily contact lenses (vs. reusable), which in the industry often represents a sort of macro-indicator of the increasing sophistication towards optical and eyewear products… Indeed theoptics industry in APAC is evolving”.
The 15th Hong Kong Optometric Conference
The 15th Hong Kong Optometric Conference, held alongside the Optical Fair, was themed “Neuro Vision Rehabilitation.” The conference presented acclaimed optometric experts, including Professor of ophthalmology and aging eye research expert, Eliezer Peli from the Harvard Medical School. A series of seminars, a buyers’ forum and networking receptions held during the fair, provided plenty of opportunities for buyers, exhibitors and media to exchange industry and market intelligence.
Economy Bounces Back
Hong Kong has bounced back as a dynamic centre for economic trade after a slower year in 2016. According to the fair organiser, the economy expanded 4 per cent year on year for the first half of 2017, compared to 2 per cent in 2016 and the value of retail sales, in nominal terms year on year, increased by 0.3 per cent from January – August. That doesn’t sound much, however it marks a significant turn around – the same period in 2016 saw a decline of 8.1 per cent. Merchandise exports increased by 8.5 per cent year on year (January – September) after a marginal decrease of 0.5 per cent in 2016, with total exports of spectacles, lens and frames increasing 7 per cent year on year to HK$8.9 billion.