CE Market Stability at Hong Kong Show

Many OEMs now accepting small orders

If sartorial trends are a sign of economic times, then the thousands of products on display at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Autumn Edition this week are pointing to continued uncertainty.

Bright colors in everything from tablets to headphones and speakers were in abundance. Such iridescent trends in fashion are historically thought to reflect morose economic prospects. But show organizers, market analysts and exhibitors all say business is not shrinking.

“It is not growing but it is stabilizing,” said Prof. K.B. Chan, honorary chairman of the Hong Kong Electronic Industries Association. He noted that there were more exhibitors this year than ever before, more buyers from more countries, and the industry was taking steps to address changes in the marketplace.

“For the first time we have a Small-Order Zone,” Prof. Chan pointed out. Featuring more than 220 suppliers and over 1,000 products ranging from speakers to headphones to Bluetooth accessories, he said it was an effort to meet the needs of buyers looking to place orders as small as a hundred units for specially branded products.

At the Hong Kong Electronic Industry Summit, analysts and manufacturers also pointed to potential areas of future opportunity, particularly in tablets, OTT boxes, and smarter TVs.

“Consumers are owning fewer and fewer devices than they were 4 years ago,” said Ben Arnold, director, industry analysis, at the NPD Group. Such a contraction was largely due to feature convergence in products; smart phones that double as cameras and music players, for example. But there’s still room for growth he said, noting that only that 23 percent of U.S. homes have a tablet computer.

According to NPD retail figures for U.S. sales in September, Amazon’s Kindle Fire accounted for a surprising 24 percent of the market, with Apple’s new iPad falling to second place with 22 percent market share. Arnold said that market fragmentation will continue to be an issue in the coming year, with ecosystems built around competing devices, including those from Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft.

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