BLOG - Gerry Ma

i-CRAZY 5.0

17 August 2010 16:09

“Will you be buying an iPad?”; “Could I get an iPhone 4 without waiting?”.  Even if your friend has not yet showing off their new toys, Apple “i-device” is surely one of the hot topics in the past weeks.

On iPhone 4 launch day, lines in the US, UK, France and Japan around the world tell an interesting story about demand and fanaticism.  Besides consumers crazily chasing for iPad and iPhone 4, business opportunities related to these “i-device” are also often discussed these days.

In recent US Government announcement, consumer expenditures on iPad, Tablet PC etc. kind of electronic products increased significantly, while expenditures on furniture, laundry machine kind of home electrical appliances are relatively dropped.  In the first six months of this year, survey showed that purchases on personal computer, mobile phones and LED TV recorded an increase of 1.8% compared with 2007 before the financial tsunami.  On the other hand, purchases on home electrical appliances and furniture plunged 3.6% and 11% respectively in the same period.  Similar spending pattern occurred in other developed countries as well. 

The trend of families trading off their expenses on general household appliances for hi-tech products is affecting various manufacturing sectors and economy as a whole.  For example, Corning Inc., corporation specialized in making advanced display glass for tablet PC and smart phones, sales increased 23% and profit surged significantly to 49% in second quarter this year.  On the other hand, the change of spending behavior is hurting the earnings of fashion or retail business in general.  As electronic products are relatively more expensive items, increased purchase within the same wallet will lead to drop in share for other purchases.  Apparel manufacturers worry that sales will continue to drop if more hi-tech gadgets are coming in the future.  Some of the companies in fashion business commented that iPad and iPhone is such a hot trend that they are becoming to be the “must have” items.

Famous US youngster fashion retailer American Eagle Outfitters is also using electronic items as the theme for their “Back to School” season this year.  Customers buying their new line of jeans are entitled to enter the lucky draw for smart phones.  Macy’s Department Store and Microsoft are also joining effort to push retail sales through Xbox360Kinect promotion.

In fact, these trends are good news to Hong Kong SMEs in electronics, accessories or software development.  Small parts for the electronic product, plastic protective cases, application software etc. are add-on items that consumers will be interested in.  In fact, most of the consumers will be having more than one protective case, headsets, charger, or keep downloading application software on a daily basis.  Thus, how to turn these fashionable demands to business opportunities?  SMEs must keep abreast of the latest technology so as to grasp the opportunity too.

Comments:

by - 02 Feb 2011 16:20

I have been following the market trend of this i-CRAZY for a while, but frankly, don't you think this is too much, or quite blown out of proportion? I just read in the newspaper that businesspeople in China are buying bulk quantity of such i-something as Chinese New Year gifts. The situation today is better than the tech-bubble days in year 2000, but still unhealthy.

 

Have you also read the book by MIT professor Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other? She thinks people are being made "less human" by sites like Twitter and Facebook. And this is hugely facilitated by the i-CRAZY movement.

 

Any feedback?

by Gerry Ma - 02 Feb 2011 16:21

Thank you for your comments and I agreed with your views. 

The key idea of my blog is thus a sharing to remind SMEs not to chase after technologies without clear thinkings of their business directions. However, I do believe that the "i" trend could help business to operate more efficiently and to promote products in a more targeted ways. 







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Gerry Ma

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Director of ColArt Hong Kong Limited, and Chairman of Trade & Industry Department (HKSAR) Customer Liaison Group for SMEs

In 2005, Mr. Ma has been elected as the Chairman of the SME Committee of Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC, 2005-2009). He has also been i...