The rising yuan prompts makers to upgrade designs instead of engaging in a price rivalry.
Stronger domestic currency is expected to push up prices of China-made party masks, hats and costumes this year. For the first category, suppliers predict increases of between 5 and 10 percent, while markups for the last two types are foreseen to exceed 15 percent.
Companies are anticipating at least a 5 percent rise in the yuan's value in the months ahead. This is almost double the ascent rate in 2009-10.
The steep appreciation is likely to raise the cost of key materials, and labor and other manufacturing expenses further.
To cope with mounting outlay and at the same time boost sales, makers are enhancing product design instead of engaging in price competition. In this regard, several companies are adopting better materials.
Many party mask suppliers, for instance, are shifting from recycled to virgin PP and PVC as these do not emit a foul smell or contain chemicals that may harm the skin. Besides being environment-friendly, new plastic absorbs paint better, lessening the risk of peeling.
Some enterprises also utilize silicone, especially for the layer touching the face, because of the material's softness, breathability and hypoallergenic properties.
A number of makers likewise use art paper as it is biodegradable and lightweight, and allows for vivid printed details.
Manufacturers of party hats and costumes, meanwhile, are incorporating electronic features in basic models.
To create colorful patterns, many are employing fiber-optic lights. Some companies are also utilizing LEDs to yield brighter and eye-catching designs. The input's high cost and wattage requirement, however, are currently limiting adoption.
Despite these, makers expect LED releases to pick up steam in 2H11 as efforts to develop inexpensive and portable power sources are under way.
Costumes are now being produced in an expanded range of themes as well. Although traditional Halloween pieces still dominate the line, versions in movie and cartoon character motifs are gaining popularity. Such designs are targeted at both children and adults.
Exports of party supplies, including masks, hats and costumes, are anticipated to increase by 15 percent this year. The recovering economies of the US and the EU, which absorb 50 and 30 percent of overseas shipments, respectively, are the main factors triggering this forecast.
The manufacturing inputs, motifs and ornamentation are the main price determinants for China-made party masks, hats and costumes.
Low-end versions of the first category go for $0.50 to $1.80, and often utilize recycled PP, PVC or art paper. Models are available in a single-layer construction with a thickness of 0.5 to 0.8mm. Embellishments are minimal.
Midrange party masks adopt virgin PP, PVC and art paper, and boast silicone padding in the nose and mouth areas. They are at least 1mm thick, and are offered in one or more layers. Apart from printed designs, such releases are commonly adorned with feathers and ribbons. Prices range from $2 to $3.50.
Having similar structure and materials as the above segment, upscale pieces come with inner sides made entirely of silicone. Electronic features such as LEDs, fiber-optic lights, and prerecorded voices and sounds are also incorporated in most models. Quotes can exceed $4.
For party hats, the least expensive releases utilize polyester. These come in basic designs with simple details, and go for between $0.40 and $0.70.
Midrange versions have more decoration, and adopt environment-friendly polyester, cotton, T/C and velvet. Products start at $0.75 and can top $1.30.
Intricate and colorful patterns and ornamentation, meanwhile, are typical in high-end versions. Similar to premium masks, some upscale party hats are fitted with fiber-optic lights for enhanced value. Designs list for $1.50 to $2.50.
As regards party costumes, many low-end models are one-piece items made of domestically sourced pure polyester fabric that often has no quality and safety certification. Products use simple stitches. The popular shades are white, red and black. A number of releases are also disposable. Quotes are between $2 and $4.
Midrange designs are priced at $5 to $15. They use similar materials as less expensive counterparts but have inner layers in T/C. Costumes in this segment boast fancy detailing, which includes ribbons and waistbands. Fiber-optic lights are also present in select versions.
High-end pieces, meanwhile, adopt pure polyester fabrics that meet EN 71 requirements and bear the CE mark. Most are available in multiple hues and layers, and with fine stitching. Electronic attachments are likewise standard.
In general, upscale releases start at $15. The addition of color-changing fiber-optic lights pushes up quotes by $0.80 to $1.20. The rates are higher for models utilizing superwhite lights. The incorporation of LEDs typically doubles the prices.
Cixi Sontek Art Co. Ltd
Cixi Sontek Art Co. Ltd
New Dawei (HK) Co. Ltd
Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.