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Smart Products Provide Market Boost: The Spring 2016 Hong Kong Lighting Fair Survey

Lighting industry players generally expect to face intensified market competition and mounting price pressures in 2016, a consequence of the slower global market. Overall, the traditional markets, notably Western Europe and North America, as well as the Chinese mainland, are seen as having the best potential for the coming year. While LED technology is already in common use for both household and commercial/industrial lighting purposes, the industry is increasingly looking to develop smart systems and solutions in order to sustain growth. In April of this year, HKTDC Research polled 211 buyers and 131 exhibitors at the Spring Edition of the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair 2016. This initiative was aimed at determining attendees’ views on the prospects for the lighting market, as well as to ascertain the industry trends likely to emerge over the coming year.

 

Photo: Buyers and exhibitors gathered at the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair 2016.
Buyers and exhibitors gathered at the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair 2016.
Photo: Buyers and exhibitors gathered at the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair 2016.
Buyers and exhibitors gathered at the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair 2016.
Photo: Opportunities for the lighting industry: Smart cites and smart homes.
Opportunities for the lighting industry: Smart cites and smart homes.
Photo: Opportunities for the lighting industry: Smart cites and smart homes.
Opportunities for the lighting industry: Smart cites and smart homes.

 

Intensified Market Competition for 2016

Photo: Hong Kong International Lighting Fair 2016.
Hong Kong International Lighting Fair 2016.
Photo: Hong Kong International Lighting Fair 2016.
Hong Kong International Lighting Fair 2016.

Some 62% of buyers and 67% of the exhibitors surveyed expected that their sales would either increase or remain unchanged in 2016. This is a smaller proportion than in the poll results from the same event last October. Indeed, the share of respondents expecting declines in sales this year has increased, accounting for 38% of the buyers and 33% of the exhibitors canvassed. Overall, this indicates that market prospects are seen as less promising in 2016.

Although around half of the respondents believed that the price level of lighting products would remain unchanged this year, those buyers (exhibitors) expecting a decrease in retail price (FOB price) outnumbered those anticipating an increase. This points to a likely intensification of price competition in the lighting market, amid a slower global economy.

 

Chart: Market Outlook for 2016
Chart: Market Outlook for 2016

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With regard to the growth prospects for individual markets, Western Europe, North America and Australia/Pacific were seen as the traditional markets with the highest potential in 2016, rated by 35%, 34% and 33% (respectively) of all the respondents as having “promising” or “very promising” prospects. In terms of the emerging markets, the highest rated were the Chinese mainland (43%), Middle East (20%) and the ASEAN countries (19%).

 

Photo: LED and green lighting: Greatest potential for growth in 2016.
LED and green lighting: Greatest potential for growth in 2016.
Photo: LED and green lighting: Greatest potential for growth in 2016.
LED and green lighting: Greatest potential for growth in 2016.
Photo: High growth potential: Western Europe and North America.
High growth potential: Western Europe and North America.
Photo: High growth potential: Western Europe and North America.
High growth potential: Western Europe and North America.

 

Mounting Price Pressures

LED/green lighting, household lighting and commercial lighting products were seen as the three categories with highest 2016 growth potential. These were singled out by 35%, 23% and 15% of the respondents respectively and all recorded higher percentages than in the October 2015 survey. In the case of LED products, however, almost all the surveyed buyers (99%) and exhibitors (98%) expected price level to drop within a year. The predicted price drop averaging between 5%-9%, while 90% of buyers and 73% of exhibitors expected a further drop in price of up to 20% over a period of up to three years. Perhaps tellingly, 28% of surveyed exhibitors believed that LED prices will fall by more than 20% in the next three years.

 

Chart: All Respondents: Product Category with Highest Growth in 2016
Chart: All Respondents: Product Category with Highest Growth in 2016

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Chart: Buyers'_Exhibitors' Expectation on LED Lamp
Chart: Buyers'_Exhibitors' Expectation on LED Lamp

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Smart Lighting Bolsters Industry Development

Another notable development in the industry is the rise of smart lighting. Although smart lighting solutions were identified by only 10% of respondents as being the highest potential growth category in 2016, 92% of respondents indicated that the smart city and smart home trend will facilitate growth in the lighting industry over the next two years. This is 10% increase over the 82% of respondents with this belief in October 2015. The growing uptake of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) may also be major factor in this growing trend. The most important development areas for smart lighting include household lighting systems compatible with and/or controllable by smart phone/tablet applications (named by 49% of respondents) and smart lighting systems for household/industrial/commercial building (primarily with an energy-saving purpose), named by 46% of respondents.

 

Chart: All Respondents: Development Potential of Smart Technology in Lighting Industry
Chart: All Respondents: Development Potential of Smart Technology in Lighting Industry

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Profile of respondents

211 buyers were canvassed, with 36% based in Hong Kong and the remainder based overseas. Their major selling/export markets were Western Europe (23%), Asia (other than the Chinese mainland) and Hong Kong (19%) and the Chinese mainland (18%).

Of the 131 surveyed exhibitors, 19% were based in Hong Kong and the rest based overseas. Their major selling/export markets were Western Europe (42%), North America (27%) and Asia (other than the Chinese mainland) and Hong Kong (10%).

Content provided by Picture: Wing Chu
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