Most of the accessories are readily available in the market. Due to advanced technology, innovation and rapidly growing mobile & tablet market, prices of accessories have fallen and are not only affordable but cost effective. In Hong Kong, memory cards ranges from HK $28 (2 GB, Class 1) to HK$ 5,500 (128 GB, 100 MB/s). Memory cards and other accessories are costly in Hong Kong as compared to the world. In India (2nd biggest market of mobile and tablet accessories in the world), price of same memory cards ranges from INR 100 or HK $12.2 (2 GB, Class 1) to INR 8,500 or HK $1,033.4 (128 GB, 100 MB/s). Apart from developing countries like India, developed countries like USA also sell memory cards at half the price of Hong Kong. High prices in Hong Kong are due to continuous high inflation in the country, which increased the prices up to this level, over the past decade. In June 2015, inflation rate of Hong Kong was 3.1% and the record highest was 7.9% in July 2011. Hong Kong was in deflation from 1998 to 2005 because of the fall in residential property prices.
Despite of high prices, mobile and tablet accessories are booming in the country and growing at a pace of 33% in 2015. Audio-Visual products have the second highest growth in electronics market, 12% in the same year.
Riding on the growing mobile phone industry, the accessories sector in Hong Kong continues to be vibrant and fast-paced. Multiple product ranges and price points, ranging from low to high, made the line strong in the face of the global economic slowdown in 2008-09. With the Hong Kong mobile/tablet accessories sector forecast to take an upturn, the majority of suppliers are optimistic about further growth this year.
Among the top trends and topics in the industry are “green” products, predominantly in the power supplies line where efficiency is a key factor. Battery technologies, for instance, are gradually moving towards Li-polymer models, which are lighter, leaner and safer than conventional Li-ion counterparts. In the power banks and chargers line, manufacturers are addressing the mounting global awareness over energy conservation and renewable sources by introducing more solar-powered models.
Many companies invested heavily in R&D and manufacture of various solar devices after Hong Kong government and some private enterprises expressed solid interest in cultivating the segment.
The Trend of Mobile Phone and Tablet Market in Hong Kong
Mobile Phones plays a major role in the growth of accessories market. Accessories sale is directly proportional to the mobile phone sales. In the last few years, mobile sales in Hong Kong have continuously declined.
With a broad portfolio of Android devices being successfully released to the market, Android users hit 77% market share in 2014. iPad users share 5.1% which is one-third of iOS users and their demand is expected to rise. Most of the mobile phones users in Hong Kong belong to Yuen Long, Shatin province. In 2014, 21% of all the mobile phones were sold in Shatin province, followed by 16% in Mangkok, TsimSahTsui and 12% in each of Prince Edwards, Kowloon Tong and Sham Shui Po.
Trends of accessories influencing demand patterns
Mobile and Tablet Accessories have shown a significant growth in past years. A varied selection at all price points was key to the line’s survival during the global economic slowdown and a factor in its continuous expansion. Green technology permeates most makers’ R&D agenda in the electronic accessories segment, especially in power supplies where efficiency is the current top priority. At present, several companies are investing in solar devices. Makers offers a growing range of cases, covers, straps, charms and novelty items. The premiums and promotional products boost the sales in the non-electronic line. The following are key trends in Hong Kong’s mobile phone accessories industry:
- Concerns over energy conservation and renewable resources are influencing accessories production. Batteries are leaning toward the Li-polymer technology, which yields lighter and leaner models. Suppliers are exploring other battery types such as fuel cells and solar-powered chemistry that can provide longer operating times. This move targets to eliminate tons of waste.
- Companies are introducing alternative materials for environment-friendly manufacturing and cost effectiveness. Several manufacturers have started to use TPU in mobile phone cases, in place of leather, silica gel and other costlier inputs. Some manufacturers already offer cases, wrist and neck straps made of biodegradable TPU. Rosin, a solid form of resin extracted from plants, is preferred for gem-type charms or pendants.
- Manufacturers are stepping up quality of devices and components to improve performance and widen uses. They are developing specialized power banks, including models for popular electronics such as the iPhone and iPod. Enhanced ICs, ASICs and microprocessors.
- Wired hands-free kits dominate the supply but their wireless versions have presented more movement in recent years. While Bluetooth is popular among portable sets, RF still receives a small percentage of in-car models.
- Accessories designed for Apple’s iPhone are on an upswing, practically creating a sub-industry altogether. Current R&D activities in the iPhone accessories line is focused on the 4G and 5G handset.