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Smarter and Greener: The Spring 2017 Hong Kong International Lighting Fair Survey

The lighting market has been enthusiastic about LED lighting over the past year, and although the trend towards LED lighting has cooled slightly, new drivers have emerged to encourage the lighting industry to go greener, and go smarter.

Lighting industry players believe the ban on selling most incandescent light bulbs in major markets will benefit the sale of LED products, while the market searches for eco-friendly alternatives. Demand will also be generated by the need to replace obsolete lighting items, especially for indoor lighting. At the same time, smart technology remains important for the development of the lighting industry, they believe.

HKTDC Research polled 234 buyers and 139 exhibitors at the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair held in April 2017. Industry players were asked for their views on the market's prospects and product trends for the lighting market over the coming year.

2017: A Promising Year Ahead

Both buyers and exhibitors were generally positive about the outlook for the lighting industry for 2017. Their views remained largely the same as the last Fair held in October 2016. Two out of five (40%) of buyers and almost two thirds (62%) of exhibitors surveyed at the Fair expected sales to increase in 2017, while only one in 25 (4%) of buyers and one in 12 (8%) of exhibitors surveyed thought the opposite.

 

Chart: Market Outlook for 2017
Chart: Market Outlook for 2017

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The growth prospects for overseas markets in 2017 are looking good, lighting industry players surveyed agreed, with every market scored higher than the neutral level of 3 (on a scale of 1 to 5). The Chinese mainland beat both North American and Western Europe to first place as the overseas market with the best growth prospects in 2017, with a score of 3.65. There was also increased confidence in emerging markets compared to the last Fair held in October 2016, with higher scores recorded for all non-traditional markets, including ASEAN countries (3.44), Latin America (3.37), Middle East (3.36), Eastern Europe (3.33) and India (3.29). North America and Western Europe continue to be the most promising regions among traditional markets, scoring 3.6 and 3.57 respectively.

 

Chart: All Respondents: Growth Prospects for Overseas Markets in 2017
Chart: All Respondents: Growth Prospects for Overseas Markets in 2017

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The LED Lighting Trend Cools Down

While LED and green lighting were popular in the lighting market over the past year, the growth in sales may slow down this year. Fewer than one in five (18%) of respondents voted LED and green lighting as the product category with the highest growth prospects in 2017, less than half the number (40%) of respondents who expressed the same view at the last Fair held in October 2016. Lighting accessories, parts and components are expected to be the most promising items this year, with almost two in five (38%) of respondents expected these items to experience the highest sales growth in 2017, a big leap from the 6% who favoured the same category at the last Fair.

 

Chart: All Respondents: Product Category with Highest Growth in 2017
Chart: All Respondents: Product Category with Highest Growth in 2017

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Indoor Lighting: The Largest Beneficiary of Replacement Demand

Given falling prices, energy efficiency and longer life spans, LED products were found to be suitable replacements for current lighting items, facilitating the sale of LED products. Around half of respondents (48%) agreed that indoor household lighting will most likely benefit from replacement demand for the next two years, closely followed by the indoor office and commercial lighting sector (42%). Other areas such as outdoor lighting other than signage and advertising lighting (25%) and indoor industrial lighting (23%) are also expected to benefit to a certain extent.

 

Chart: All Respondents: Areas Potentially Benefit from Replacement Demand in the Next Two Years
Chart: All Respondents: Areas Potentially Benefit from Replacement Demand in the Next Two Years

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LED Lighting: An Eco-friendly Alternative

Sales of most incandescent light bulbs have been completely banned in Australia, the EU, the US, China and some other markets, because of growing levels of environmental awareness in recent years. Almost all respondents (96%) believed that the market will look for other lighting products in search of eco-friendly alternative. Four out of five (80%) of respondents said that this will boost the sale of LED products, while the rest (16%) believed that the sale of integrated electronic compact fluorescent lamps will benefit instead.

 

Chart: All Respondents: Whether the Ban of Incandescent Light Bulbs will Benefit the Sales of Other
Chart: All Respondents: Whether the Ban of Incandescent Light Bulbs will Benefit the Sales of Other

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Smart Technology: Shaping the Future of the Lighting Industry

The vast majority of respondents (92%) was optimistic that the future development of the lighting industry for the next two years will benefit from trends in smart city and smart home solutions. Respondents backed areas such as household lighting systems compatible with and/or controllable by smart phone/tablet applications (45%), smart lighting systems for household/industrial/commercial buildings, primarily with an energy-saving intent (43%) and household lighting systems that are connected to the Internet, or compatible with Internet applications (32%) as the areas more likely to experience technological advancement over the next two years.

 

Chart: All Respondents: Whether Smart Technology will Facilitate the Lighting Industry Development
Chart: All Respondents: Whether Smart Technology will Facilitate the Lighting Industry Development

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Profile of Respondents

234 buyers were canvassed, of which a third (34%) were based in Hong Kong and the remainder based overseas. Their major selling/export markets were the Chinese mainland (40%), Asia outside the Chinese mainland (34%), North America (32%) and Western Europe (30%).

Of the 139 surveyed exhibitors, one in six (17%) were based in Hong Kong and the rest based overseas. Their major selling/export markets were North America (45%), Asia outside the Chinese mainland (13%), Eastern Europe (11%) and Western Europe (11%).

Content provided by Picture: Doris Fung
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