Christmas shopping - in July

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 June, 2006, 12:00am

Retailers welcome the show as it leaves time to source products or finalise new designs before December

THE TREND TOWARDS shorter product life cycles and minimised stock holdings has created a demand for extra buying opportunities during the year.

The Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Houseware & Toys 2006 aims to fill this need. It will be held from July 4 to 7 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

In its third year, the Summer Sourcing Show has proved popular with exhibitors and buyers. It gives an additional chance to do business, while ensuring the latest products can be secured in time for Christmas.

'The show has filled a gap between the traditional sourcing seasons and has established itself in just a few years as a key event in the global buying calendar,' said Anne Chick, senior exhibitions manager for the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the organiser of the fair.

'It is the perfect opportunity to see the latest product developments, particularly with regard to the upcoming holiday season, or for early planning strategies for 2007.'

Buyers agree.

'The Summer Sourcing Show's timing is very important for Toys 'R' Us in Japan,' said Taka Tohyama, director, product development department, merchandise division, Toys 'R' Us-Japan.

'It is a chance to see the latest products or finalise new designs in time for December. This last-minute sourcing allows us to secure great items for Christmas, which is our biggest season and accounts for 30 per cent of our annual sales.'

Bharat Chandani, buyer for Homes r Us Furniture & Finishings, a home furniture and furnishings retail chain based in Dubai, said: 'Having another fair in July is good for us because we don't have to hold as much stock. It also allows our product lines to always be fresh.'

Hong Kong-based Checkey is another fan of the event. 'The Summer Sourcing Show is an opportunity to take additional orders that can still be prepared for Christmas shipments,' said director Winnie Yau.

The company will showcase its range of car accessories, magnetic massagers, pop-up storage bins, toys, indoor multifunctional tents as well as gifts and premium items.

Checkey exhibited at the show for the first time last year and has returned because of the buyer response. 'We had good feedback from buyers last year, and we hope to meet more new customers this year,' Ms Yau said.

Maggie Ching, chief designer at jewellery design company MAG Creation, said there was a place for an additional fair.

'The fair is needed because the worldwide buying market is continually looking for new and trendy products, so the product life cycle is decreasing,' she said.

The first-time exhibitor will present a range of necklaces, bracelets and pendants featuring semi-precious stones, as well as a line of hair accessories.

Ms Ching said a shorter product turnaround meant a product's design was as important as its function in attracting buyers.

'We have a new hair ornament collection featuring strong design and, of course, good quality and attractive prices,' Ms Ching said.

British company Orion World, also a first-time exhibitor, aims to bring the company and one of its main products to Asia.

'Orionlight is a new product in Asia and will be the only product we will focus on in the show,' said director Jaz Pan.

'Hopefully we will get some good exposure to Asian markets.'

The hand-finished lights in the Orionlight series are made from a rare sea salt crystal found in Poland that, according to the company, was formed deep underground more than 250 million years ago. No two lights are the same. Fossilisation and variations in crystal structure result in different hues and patterns when the light is switched on. The lights absorb and reduce humidity and emit negative ions that purify the air, reduce radiation and create a balance in the air that counteracts the positive ions discharged from electronic equipment.

'Orionlight is not a mass-production item,' Mr Pan said. 'We do not believe in short-cycle products. We still believe that a great design plus good quality equals a product with a long life. We welcome both retail and wholesale buyers, but we are especially hoping to attract buyers with distribution throughout Asia.'

Area Plus, an exhibitor since the inception of the show, returns each year because it believes the fair attracts a different profile of buyers from other trade shows.

'The majority of our customers are from Europe, but we want to penetrate further into the United States and Southeast Asia,' said managing director Kingdy Li.

'We think the show is a good place to meet buyers from these markets. We are particularly hoping to attract more retail sector business.'

The company's products include stationery and desktop items, small homeware pieces, travel accessories and gift sets.

'When designing, we think outside the box and play around with different concepts and materials. This is done to differentiate ourselves from others and sustain a longer product life cycle,' Ms Li said.

Area Plus is launching what it considers an unusual and defining concept with its ICY range: orange and white ceramics with electronic or desktop items. The collection includes a radio, a calculator, a clock and a combination vase and pen tray.

The Summer Sourcing Show has attracted some 1,000 exhibitors from 18 countries. They hail from Hong Kong, Australia, mainland China, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and the United States.