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Thursday, 5 November 2015, 15:30 HKT/SGT

Source: HKTDC
HKTDC Hong Kong Optical Fair Seminar Highlights European Market Growth
Experts Point to Potential in China's Online Optical Market

HONG KONG, Nov 5, 2015 - (ACN Newswire) - The 23rd HKTDC Hong Kong Optical Fair is underway at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) from 4 to 6 November. On the opening day of the fair, the HKTDC organised a seminar titled "Achieving Business Success - How to Leverage the Latest Industry, Retail and Consumer trends", where representatives from GfK, Germany's leading market research institute, analysed the latest trends in European and Asian markets, retailers' development focus, fashion trends and consumer habits.

HKTDC Hong Kong Optical Fair Seminar Highlights European Market Growth

The seminar speakers included Dario Lorizzo, Global Product Manager Account Eyewear, GfK, and Soh Guan Kai, Manager, GfK Asia. After tracking the sales of more than 165,000 optical stores, GfK noted that the European optical market, led by France, Italy and Spain, achieved considerable growth with increased sales of 4 per cent in the first half of 2015. The momentum came from two types of major products, lenses and frames. The sales of lenses amounted to over 50 per cent of the industry's total sales, while the two product types combined accounted for more than 70 per cent of the industry's sales. In addition to Europe, the dominance of lens sales is also evident in Japan, while for the Chinese mainland and India markets, frames are the leading products in terms of sales.

Growth Factor: Disposable and silicone hydrogel contact lens

Mr Lorizzo pointed out that the contact lens market had undergone significant change. "The sales of Silicone Hydrogel contact lenses have risen," he said. "The industry's use of new materials is the major reason for the growth of this type of item. The sales of one-day or one-month contact lenses have also increased, thus driving up the demand for eye drops, whereas the demand for lens cleaning solution has decreased. As for lenses, the growth of the European market came from progressive lenses. The Korean market had great demand for high-end eyewear where its sales are twice that of the European market. As for the trend for frames, the current bestselling model is the Wayfarer with its full-rim plastic frame. Yet round frames made of mixed material will be in fashion in the coming season."

In response to the industry's interest in the Chinese mainland market, GfK specifically researched and analysed the market. Mr Lorizzo said that, as the Chinese market is huge, GfK had analysed the market through its mega cities. Shanghai is the main city for their research, followed by Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Chongqing and Nanjing. "The growth of the Chinese optical market has only a one per cent increase this year, which is lower than its Europe counterpart," he said. "The Chinese online shopping market, however, had a rapid development. Now online shopping constitutes around 13 per cent of the total retail sales of the Chinese market. This ratio applies to other products of the retailing industry as well. We expect the ratio would rise following Singles Day (11 November)."

Mr Lorizzo also noted that even though the Chinese optical market is in a growth period, the growth rate of optical stores in the Chinese mainland over the past four years is less than 13 per cent, which is lower than the European market. "In Italy alone, there are over 10,000 optical stores. Yet there are only 8,700 or so optical stores located in the major cities of the Chinese mainland. This means there is a lot of potential for development on the Chinese mainland," he said. "Optical stores on the Chinese mainland are primarily located in malls specialising in optical products, (general) shopping malls, and street shops. However, both independent and chain optical stores prefer to run their business as street shops."

Consumers go for cost-performance ratio

As for consumer behaviour, GfK tracked more than 37,000 consumers aged 25 or above in 25 countries for 18 years, and summarised 12 general trends for the global market. These trends are applicable to all kinds of industries as well as optical. Soh Guan Kai, Manager, GfK Asia, highlighted six general trends during the seminar. "Firstly, today's consumers reviewed what they value the most. They are smart and expect high standards of quality for a product, yet they are also concerned with the cost-performance ratio," he said. "Secondly, the consumers are concerned with one's safety and are risk-averse; therefore they would like products that are safe and functional. Thirdly, the consumers would only buy a product after careful consideration. They would like to purchase products that express their personality, and pay much attention to the integrity, transparency, and reputation of a retailer. Fourthly, the consumers go after satisfaction. They want to buy the best product, and wish for a nice shopping experience that corresponds to or even goes beyond their expectation, hoping that the retail store sees them as loyal customers. Fifth; as everyone wants to exert their influence through social media, the consumer would like more choices, information and evaluations. Therefore, retailers should suggest suitable products to the consumers as an independent advisor, instead of selling particular brands. Sixth; the consumers would like convenient services, and hope that it is possible for them to purchase suitable items anytime, anywhere. As the trend now is online retailing, shops should provide delivery services, purchase suggestions, and mobile stores."

The 23rd HKTDC Hong Kong Optical Fair, co-organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and the Hong Kong Optical Manufacturers Association, continues tomorrow, providing the perfect one-stop trading platform for the optical market.

Fair Website: http://hkopticalfair.hktdc.com/

Photo Download Link: http://bit.ly/1KYLrk7

Media Registration: Media representatives wishing to cover the event may register on-site with their business cards and/or media identification.

Corporate Communication Department
Joe Kainz
Tel: +852 2584 4216
Email: joe.kainz@hktdc.org

Topic: Trade Show or Conference
Source: HKTDC

Sectors: Trade Shows, Retail & eCommerce, Consumer Electronics
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