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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Attendance Drops 2.5% At September Hong Kong Jewelry Fair

It had to happen sometime and it seemed this was the year. After robust growth since 2008, overall attendance at the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair decreased by 2.5 percent.

Data from trade fair organizer UBM Asia showed 3,752 exhibitors from 50 countries and regions and 57,616 unique buyers from 156 countries and regions attended the 33rd edition of the September fair. The slight increase in exhibitors is a new record for what is still the largest fine jewelry tradeshow in the world.

Celine Lau, director of Jewellery Fairs at UBM Asia, noted that the number of buyers from mainland China increased slightly by 4.34 percent from last year, contributing roughly 33 percent to the total number of visitors.

“This clearly shows that the Chinese market remains robust and a significant driver of jewelry demand,” said Lau.

The following countries, meanwhile, recorded double digit percentage growth in visitor number: Korea (14 percent); the Philippines (10 percent); Italy (12 percent); and Sri Lanka (19 percent).

The fair was held in two venues: The AsiaWorld-Expo from September 16 to 20 for jewelry making materials and machinery, and the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre from September 18 to 22, for finished fine jewelry.

More than 121,000 visits were recorded during the fair. Hong Kong-based visitors totaled 16,841 accounting for nearly 30 percent of the total number of visitors. The rest of the visitors, 40,775 or over 70 percent of the overall total, were from overseas.

The largest group of visitors from outside Hong Kong region came from mainland China. At 19,105, the number of visitors from mainland China again surpassed the number of Hong Kong-based visitors. Hong Kong region follows with 16,841; India, 2,980; the US, 1,929; Taiwan region, 1,816; Thailand, 1,717; Japan, 1,320; Korea 1,222; the Philippines, 1,213; and Indonesia, 681.

The UBM Asia official emphasized that the attendance of jewelers from around the world enriches Hong Kong Fairs as a networking platform and a barometer of business sentiment.

“The September Fair has a key role in forecasting upcoming design trends, the hottest colors and the newest materials because exhibitors launch their latest products here before they hit the stores,” Lau said.

This year’s edition of the September Fair also saw the launch of a new security measure, which entails verifying the identity of badge holders at the venue’s entrance. “We want to strengthen and maintain a business-friendly environment at the fair. This measure has the full support and cooperation of both exhibitors and buyers. The feedback from the participants regarding this initiative was very encouraging,” she said.

Lau also said that UBM Asia appointed a professional research agency last June to conduct an on-site survey to review the feedback from both exhibitors and visitors on the “One Fair Two Venues” concept. “The study reconfirmed that participants are happy with the current arrangements in place, whereby the fair at AsiaWorld-Expo begins a few days before the fair at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre,” she said.

During the September Fair period, eight seminars, one diamond auction, two pearl auctions, three conferences and other special events were held at AWE and HKCEC. 

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