So this post seems to be a recurring and I won’t break habits and therefore continue this series of giving you the news and trends from this April exhibition with the following sum up I am also doing a Q&A at the end of this post, check it out.
It has been a very busy 5 weeks for me as I’ve been to 12 different shows and I can see that more and more Amazon sellers are coming to Asia to visit the suppliers and shows.
When I asked suppliers at exhibitions 2 years ago if they sell into Amazon they had no clue as to who Amazon is. When you ask them now if they sell to the US you get: “oh yes sure, we have many buyers on Amazon”.
Not that I am afraid of competition but there is clearly a sign that sellers realize you need to go to the source to find the right products and suppliers.
In recent months I have seen a gradual decline of my business to retailers (offline business) and more and more eCommerce sellers are starting to come to Asia to see the suppliers.
This is a huge sign. Whether you plan selling on Amazon, your own eCommerce store or other online platforms (eBay, Spotify etc.) NOW is the time to get into importing and private labeling.
I see a lot of repetition at the shows but there are clear trends in several categories and I was able to find a few golden nuggets that I am thinking of launching as my next products:
The famous “hoover board” is almost outdated and I saw many new types of transportation devices. Personally I am not getting into this category as I believe it is too risky and their are no clear saftey standards.
Lots and lots of nice products at both the Houseware fair (HKTDC), Cantonfair (Phase 2) as well as the Home and Premium show (Globalsources).
My wife would have a difficult time choosing from the huge variety of products – there are lots of nice looking items
Interestingly but not surprisingly I met most of the Amazon sellers from overseas at the house ware/kitchen shows. A clear sign that this category is heavily competitive but also very popular AND still profitable.
High quality and branded Chinese/Korean/Japan goods
Be it a mini projector screen from Korea, a “Lego” like learning tool for kids from Japan or high end bycicle helemts (with bluetooth) from China. Asian brands are starting to make waves and their quality is excellent.
However in most cases these factories are only looking for distributors and are selling their products with their own brand on Amazon or other channels. Private Label is not really welcome and if it is very high MOQ’s are necessary.
However it is a good sign and nice to know that the asian brands are catching up in terms of quality, innovation and development.
Sporting and camping products
A category that I personally love because I like the outdoors and love to work out. Seen a lot of suppliers offering things from kettle bells to yoga mats to roof tents. I found myself 2 products that I am thinking of launching soon.
While it is getting more competitive I think that with the right marketing, packaging and photos on your listing this is still a very good niche.
Two categories that I have seen everywhere no matter if it was a houseware or gardening show:
1) Silicone kitchen products!
You see them everywhere on nearly every booth. Either from a trading company who’s main manufacturing line are electronics or from the actual manufacturer. My advice – be creative and don’t try to private label the next silicone mat.
This category is too saturated
2) Vaccum flask / Tumblers
Same here. I don’t know what it is but it seems when factories hear that their neighbouring factory is selling stainless steel tumblers like hot cake, they have nothing better to do than adding them as well into their assortment thinking they will sell them too – even though 40 other factories in the area are selling them already as well. Nearly every booth at the house ware and gifts show had tumblers and flasks in their booths. So unless you have a buyer list of 50,000 people and can sell your next stainless steel tumbler – Please don’t go into that category – the competition is too big.
The Global Sources Sourcing Summit:
I had the honour of being the opening speaker at the Global Sources Sourcing Summit. There were about 65 (or becoming) Amazon sellers attending this event and I can say that it was truly a very exciting opportunity.
During my speech
Discussing strategies with a fellow Amazon seller
Shall we go into Silicone products?
Impressions from and after the Sourcing Summit with attendees.
Q&A panel at the Sourcing Summit
Will Tjernlund and fans
The line up of speakers was really impressive and to be honest I felt intimidated to be among such great speakers. We had Greg Mercer from Junglescout, Anthony Lee from Zonblast, Will Tjernlund (the Multi-Million $ Seller) Ash Monga from Imexsourcing, Mike Bellamy from Passage Maker …… among many other great speakers. The line up and summary is here: https://smartchinasourcingsummit.instapage.com/
But most of all it was great to meet so many Amazon sellers. I had some time in between to discuss strategies, procedures, importing and all that comes along being an Amazon seller myself.
This was such a great event and I am happy to say that I will be at the next one in October 2016:
Factory trip to Shenzhen:
I had the opportunity to go with some ImportDojo members to their factory in Shenzhen to see the production and help negotiate prices:
Arriving in Shenzhen
At the factory with Omar who started less than a year ago and now working on several SKU’s.
These guys seem happy with their product and factory choice
Checking out the production.
UPDATE CASE STUDY:
In the midst of everything I launched my newest product and case study item:
As of today my inventory down to 580 pieces (from 1008 pieces), 417 pieces sold in less than 6 weeks in a very competitive niche. I have nearly re-couped my entire investment (8000$) and I just put in a re-order with my factory for 2500 pieces (shipped by SEA this time) which should last me at least 4 months from date of arrival.
You can read on my previous update here and I will soon post another one:
Impressions from the shows
Breakfast for champions! A fellow Austrian brought me the famous Manner Schnitten from Austria and I had to have them for breakfast – thanks Stefan!
As usual a crowded train on the day before the Canton Fair starts. Make sure to book your tickets in advance and pick them up at the train station in Hung Hom (HK) otherwise you end up waiting for a train hours later: http://www.it3.mtr.com.hk/B2C/frmFareGuangdong.asp?strLang=Eng
walking to my hotel trough Guangzhou
I usually don’t stay at fancy hotels as I see my business trips as a business trip, not a vacation. So I checked myself into the Lavande Hotel at an amazing rate of 60$/night. It’s right next to the Subway station so you can get to the Canton Fair very quickly. It’s not the greatest hotel and staff speaks poor English but you’ll get your room.
One of the halls at the Canton Fair Phase 2
Walking the floors.
Could already use a bath after a day at the show
You can literally find everything here.
This might be a good camping product?
Not sure if this prototype will make it into production
Just one of the many many halls, full with suppliers…
Heading back to the hotel
Beautiful covers and bags
a nice kitchen gift set
Is this my next coffee product? A drip – cold press coffee maker
Heading to Hall 3
Mugs, mugs and mugs
A DIY learning tool for kids
Interesting cable organizer
checking out gaming hardware
iPhone lenses and covers
Getting myself some new ties. Even though I never wear them
Accessories, accessories and accessories
Looking to create your own brand of shoes? This supplier works for Li Ning (the big Chinese brand) as well as New Balance (NB). I just love flyknit (see my orange Nike sneakers :))
Time to do some sight seeing with a colleague
Meeting up with Peter Zapf from GlobalSources
Interesting Solar camping lantern
High end headphones
Silicone cooking pods
Decorative copper items from India
Kids travel luggage
This bike weighs less than 10KG and costs over 800$
My next PL product?
Having a coffee break with Will and colleagues (Pete & Laura) from Uganda who are looking for their first products.
One thing I should mention is the wholesale market in Yiwu.
Where is that? It’s a “small city” near Ningbo (Zheijang province) that houses “The World’s Largest Wholesale Market.”
Here is a report from Business Insider.
I personally didn’t go but I have heard of a few people that came to HK that they went there before the shows. Is it worth it? Yes and No. If you have no contacts and there is no exhibition going on at the moment then YES. But if you are looking for serious suppliers with good quality and buying from factories directly then NO. The thing is that these showrooms and “suppliers” in Yiwu are thousands of trading companies mostly selling stock (with Chinese packaging and NO quality control) to you in small quantities. Yes you can give it a try and not all suppliers are bad but I personally had bad experience with suppliers there. It’s worth to see and there are a few nuggets and you can buy small quantities, just make sure to check out the supplier in-depth and have agreements and if possible inspections in place.
Planning on coming to the shows later this year? Here are the dates for October:
Interested in last years reports? Check out these links:
Recap and conclusion for myself:
While I have met many amazing people, fellow Amazon sellers and suppliers this has also been a fruitful trip for me. Apart from making new friends and business partners I have also placed order for 4 new items that I found during those weeks and after initial research I can say that there won’t be any or limited competition. I have invested a total of close to 20,000$ into new products and I am expecting to get a return of 6-10,000 on each product after the first order. Once again, I can’t stress enough how important it is of actually coming to Asia to source your products.
I hope that this update gave you a bit of an overview of whats happening in China/HK and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
All the best and happy sourcing,