Fresh from his visit to last month’s Interior Lifestyle China exhibition, British Home Enhancement Trade Association housewares sector director Will Jones has compiled a report exclusively available to BHETA members on sales opportunities in that country.
Jones was invited to the Shanghai show – which focuses on design-led products for the luxury end of the market and targets importers and distributors plus retail buyers – by organiser Messe Frankfurt in order to gain an insight into the Chinese market and identify how UK suppliers might enter it.
Disposable incomes in China have increased and retail chains are expanding. There has been a significant increase in the number of luxury shopping malls, although these tend to concentrate on fashion brands.
Jones found that of more relevance to the housewares market are department stores, of which there are 400 to 500 and increasing, located in major cities.
Jones says there is a demand for well-known European brands, but that suppliers are made to work very hard to promote and support listings, with weekly in-store demonstrations, marketing support, advertising, promotions, etc, and the route to market is complicated with most stores individually owned. Distributors are the preferred option for most suppliers.
According to BHETA, for UK companies serious about entering the Chinese market, the time is very much now and Interior Lifestyle China is a good starting point. Suppliers need a strong brand to attract Chinese interest, but as a result of BHETA’s liaison with the relevant parties, members can get help from Messe Frankfurt and grant support from local UKT&I offices. BHETA can also supply contact details.
Meanwhile, BHETA has added two more housewares companies to its membership: textiles supplier Sterck & Co and Proven Products, whose range includes Bamix of Switzerland and German brand Woll Cookware.