The fair marked a 9.13% increase in visitor numbers over September 2011 figures. Fifty-four countries were represented, with Hong Kong-based stores and buying offices leading the pack, resulting in a 30.95% increase in Hong Kong buyer attendance over 2011's figure of 1,328. China came in second with 798 buyers, up by 11.45%. Japan buyers made up the third largest contingent with 243. Rounding out the top 10 countries list were Australia, Italy, South Korea, Russia Federation, Taiwan, the Philippines and the USA.
"The increase in buyers is perhaps reflective of the fact that the fashion and leathergoods sectors - particularly leathergoods - have consistently outpaced the overall luxury goods market, and weathered the 2008/09 storm with much more resilience than the watches and jewellery category," says Mintel, a leading global supplier of consumer, product and media intelligence.
Nonetheless, growth in the fashion and leathergoods market slowed from 20.6% in 2010 to 17.6% in 2011. Mintel expects growth rates for 2012 to be a little below those seen in 2011 but does not expect any major slowdown in growth.
In her Fashion Access seminar on "Buying Accessories for the European Market", Sandrine Williamson of Galeries Lafayette Group in Paris said: "despite the slowing down of the economy in Europe, sales of bags and fashion accessories would continue growing at the rate of at least 5-10% in the next few years."
Perrine Ardouin, events director of Asia Pacific Leather Fair Ltd (APLF) which organises the fair, noted that "the importance of fashion accessories and leathergoods to the global fashion business is unquestionable. There will always be a strong demand especially for leather bags and shoes, particularly those in the luxury market."
Visitors were also treated to a new look in the Fashion Avenue hall, a section of the fair dedicated to brands. Perhaps the most welcome addition to Fashion Avenue was the 43-exhibitor strong "Shoes from Italy" show brought in by the Italian Footwear Manufacturers Association, ANCI. This was complemented by the 10 exhibitors of bags and leathergoods under the Italian Leathergoods Manufacturers Association, AIMPES.
Jaclyn Wood of Metro Group Buying in Hong Kong said: "It is nice to see some good European products in Fashion Access, in terms of both design and quality, especially the Italian Shoes, which are out of my expectation. I am satisfied with my visit as a whole and looking forward to coming back another time."
The excellent presentations of the 300+ exhibitors particularly in the various country pavilions including those of mainland China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia as well as those of the Design Zone exhibitors from Thailand and Malaysia afforded buyers with a wide selection to choose from.
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