Online exhibitions and online shops: Upcoming market opportunities amid COVID-19

A number of exhibitions in Hong Kong have been postponed recently due to the spike in COVID-19 cases. Events affected include, but are not limited to, the Hong Kong Book Fair, the Computer and Communications Festival and Animation-Comic-Game Hong Kong.

Postponing these events not only disappointed many local fans who had planned to buy their favourite goods, but also thousands of local companies who were prepared to do business in these annual events.

Where there is demand, there will always be supply. Local merchants strive to find ways to sell goods, especially when they have already merchandised inventories before the events. However, they still suffer from losses even though the organisers typically give compensation for pre-paid fees, such as the booth booking fee.

To measure the market demand from both consumers and merchants, local online marketplaces are planning to organise online exhibitions this summer, such as HKTVmall’s 2020 Book Fair.

Online exhibitions are getting more popular in Hong Kong, although not a substitute to traditional exhibitions. 

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) has recently introduced various new ways to help businesses match local buyers and sellers. The virtual expo of Premier Buying Meetings and the Summer Sourcing Weeks are new online programmes the HKTDC had launched this year.

According to merchants data from Price.com.hk, the percentage of merchants having online shops has increased significantly, from 25% in 2018 to more than 50% in 2020. There is an increasing popularity of having more than one online store as well. This suggests that local marketers are speeding up their omni-channel marketing efforts.

Undoubtedly 2020 is a tough year to do business, but Hongkongers have a reputation as fighters. It is expected that marketers in Hong Kong will persevere and keep a close eye on the changing business environment. And ultimately win the battle.

This article is contributed by Wilson Wong, associate marketing director of Price.com.hk.


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