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Seeing better business
- report from Mido 2013, Milan

 Photo: Increased numbers at Mido Milan.
 Increased numbers at Mido Milan.
Quality, originality and personalised styling shone through at Mido Milan. Differentiation is seen as the element that attracts international consumers.

Companies attempted to meet these requirement by proposing many fresh ideas at Mido, which had a 3% increase in both exhibitors and visitors.

Europe is still an important export market for Asian production and Hong Kong opportunities were seen in numbers.

With 880 companies represented and global eyewear production at Euros2.7 billion (up 5.3% over 2011), Italy is still the world's largest exporter according to official Italian figures, with a market share of 25%, ahead of both the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong.

Italian exports of eyewear, sunglasses, and separate lenses represent 90% of overall production and grew 7% compared to 2011, having reached an all-time peak of Euros2.6 billion.

Photo: Luxottica sunglasses. (Courtesy of © Luxottica)
 Photo: Cesare Paciotti brand. (Courtesy of © Cesare Paciotti)
Luxottica sunglasses. Cesare Paciotti brand.

Europe and the US together account for almost 80% of the global Italian eyewear business, while Asia takes 18% of the country's sunglasses and ophthalmic eyewear.

Last year, Italian eyewear exports to the Chinese mainland grew by 61.6% (29.8% for sunglasses and 122.4% for general eyewear).

 Photo: Benedetti: Hong Kong hub.
 Benedetti: Hong Kong hub.
The US represents the most significant consumer market globally for Italian eyewear, although both Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland appear to have the largest potential.

New markets, including Central and South America and the Middle East emirates are growing markets.

Distribution deal

Italy's Brands O.I. signed a distribution contract with Miottica Korea to distribute its Borsalino Eyewear in South Korea and Greater China. Benedetto De Benedetti, President, said the US is the top market while Hong Kong is a hub for the Mainland.

The company's new markets are Hungary, Ukraine and Moldova.

At Mido Brands O.I. offered its new Cesare Paciotti collection, including sunglasses in acetate and featuring decorative black lace on a red background.

Italy's Pramaor, which manufactures and distributes its Blackfin and Bioeyes brands, indicated that the US and Northern Europe remained the top markets. The Blackfin collection has temples in titanium and beta titanium, a very flexible material.

Photo: Blackfin collection. 
Blackfin collection. 
Nicola Del Din, Pramaor's President, said: "in Hong Kong there are distributors who sell our products to eyewear shops dealing with niche products. We registered good performances in Morocco, Tunisia, Romania and the Czech Republic."

The company closed 2012 with turnover growing 15% over 2011.

For many producers, there is no true recovery in the EU even though several markets are holding up well.

"In 2012 the French and German markets recorded double-digit growth. The US can be a dangerous market," said Elisio Tessaro, Brand and Product Marketing Director for Italy's Area 98, suggesting that promising US economic data was deceptive in the eyewear business.

He said: "Hong Kong, where we operate in co-operation with big chains of shops, [and it] is an entry portal for the Chinese mainland. [Also], today there are cities like Shanghai, where consumers are very fashion-conscious and know what they want."

Photo: Tessaro: US can be dangerous. Photo: Garofoli: emerging Latin American market.
Tessaro: US can be dangerous. Garofoli: emerging Latin American market.

Lydia Garofoli, of R&P Company Srl, said the European market is somewhat stagnating while Latin America and the Middle East are emerging.

 Photo: Gottardi: Italian market in crisis.
 Gottardi: Italian market in crisis.
Claudio Gottardi, President and CEO of Italy's Marchon Eyewear, said the Italian market itself is in crisis while the US market is stable.

The firm owns the US-based VSP Vision Care Group and said Russia was a promising market for the future.

"The brand portfolio includes Valentino, Salvatore Ferragamo and sporty products such as Nike and G-Star RAW," said Gottardi.

In China, the firm has a division in Shenzhen that produces medium-to-high level products dedicated to the Chinese market and distributed locally. Lacoste and CK by Calvin Klein are the brands making the profits in that market.

Asian pavilion features Hong Kong

Hong Kong's Simon Chim, Designer and Owner of the brand Chimmm by Simon Chim, said: "Russian and Chinese consumers prefer big brands. Tailor-made brands, like ours, are not suitable for all markets."

Chim said he's now looking at the Middle East for chains of stores.

Photo: Chim: tailor-made brands. Photo: Acetate vision.
Chim: tailor-made brands. Acetate vision.

Photo: Wong: open for business. 
Wong: open for business. 
For Billion Excel Optical Manufactory Co Ltd of Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Thailand are top for sales, but the "reference" markets are also in Europe, with Germany and the UK the major ones.

"Hong Kong is a strategic point of sales [on the Chinese mainland], very open for business," said Wensty Wong, Senior Sales Executive.

Jenny Wang, Sales Manager of Jet Hing Optical Industrial Company of Hong Kong reported a scarcity of buyers at Mido and no new contracts. The best markets are still in Europe, with France and Germany top.

In Canada, there are customers for which Jet Hing manufactures products to order. At Mido last month it presented eyewear made from metal and acetate, with a mix of other materials.

 Photo: Colette collection.
 Colette collection.
Colette, based in Hong Kong, has a factory on the Mainland and sells to wholesalers. "Via Hong Kong, it is easier to export to Europe: our main markets are Germany and Denmark," said Wesley Lau, General Manager.

Its designers this year proposed trendy as well as classic frames, made from injected materials, acetate and metal, and made to order. Bright colours were in trend for 2013, said the company's representatives.

Anna Lee, Sales Representative with Bossin Eyewear Manufacture (HK) Co Ltd emphasised that businesses in Italy and the rest of Europe are still going well: "however, our best markets are the US and Canada."

Aviators flying high

Among the fashion trends at Mido, the best sellers were aviator glasses, a glamorous look harking back to the 1950s.

Photo: Inspiration from Salvador Dalì. (Courtesy of © Face à Face) 
Inspiration from Salvador Dalì. 
Face à Face of France launched its Bocca collection, taking inspiration from the Mae West sofa shot famously painted by Salvador Dalì, with sunglasses made of acetate, and temples sculptured as female legs.

Titanium continued to be a bestseller, thanks to its lightness, flexibility and 100% hypoallergenic nature. In 2013 it has appeared shiny, in matte and as a coating.

Silhouette proposed lightweight and minimalist eyewear in titanium high tech. The new line, Titan Minimal Art: The Icon featured famous Hollywood actor Patrick Dempsey.

 Photo: John Lennon Collection. (Courtesy of © Adlens)
 John Lennon Collection.
The AlessiEyes collection, designed by Frederic Gooris, is a licensing project with 101 Studio Limited, a subsidiary of Sun Hing Vision Group of Hong Kong.

The innovative Kompas line had sunglasses and eyewear featuring a new hinge with magnetic inserts.

Adlens, established in the UK by James Chen, a Hong Kong entrepreneur and philanthropist, made a debut with Hemisphere, the first collection of eyewear featuring a variable focus, with a secondary John Lennon Collection to honour the famous Beatle.

There were also novelties for kids, including a new line of colourful and indestructible glasses, with frames made of rubber and interchangeable sun lenses.

Photo: Kids' glasses in rubber. Photo: High tech Silhouette.
Kids' glasses in rubber. High tech Silhouette.

As for contact lenses, Safilens launched its Open 30, the first contact lenses to be manufactured for monthly insertion into the eye and made of silicone hydrogel Filcon 5 and based on the patented Fusion Technology.

PPG presented its ophthalmic lens Tribrid, characterised by a unique hybrid material.

from special correspondents Cristina Bellavista and
Clara Dodino, Milan

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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