LED models continue to dominate, while solar versions increase.

China novelty lights suppliers are widening their selections of environment-friendly designs, concentrating product development efforts on the use of LEDs and solar energy. Styles with diodes continue to swell in number, as nearly all makers already employ this component. In fact, only 5 percentage of manufacturers still utilize halogen, plasma and incandescent alternatives.

LED use is extending to models that were not offered previously in novelty shapes. Dog tags, for instance, are seemly progressively popular, influenced by the maturation of the pet products industry. These accessories are available from wholesale pet supplies and wholesale novelty products companies.

Eagletop (HK) International Ltd is an example of the latter. Apart from typical designs that go for $0.40 to $1, it carries tags with vibration- and light-sensitive features. Each capability adds 30 percent to prices.

By September 2010, the maker will release three more versions, quoted at $3 or $4, beneathscoring stopwatch and walking speedometer functions.

Juxin, a pet products specialist, also offers LED tags. Neo-Neon LED light International Ltd is introducing designs that run on AC instead of DC. Adapters are therefore no longer needed. This causes a $1 price reduction.

Promoting environmental protection further, about 5 to 10 percent of the supplier base is boosting output of solar-powered novelty lights. The number is expected to climb in coming months amid increasing ecological awareness worldwide, resulting in the growing popularity of “green” designs.

In addition, PV engineering is enabling businesses to expand product applications. Manufacturers are now venturing into outdoor-use versions that are suitable as garden ornaments. Examples are Neo-Neon’s frog and squirrel figurines. Richforth Ltd (Gift Dept), meantime, has developed potted flower models.

Lights specialist Ningbo Yourlite Imp. & Exp. Co. Ltd, which started producing novelty versions in 2009, now offers similar openwork earthenware releases.


R&D innovation

New LED variants come in novelty shapes already, ahead(p) to a range of fresh design options.

Suppliers such as Neo-Neon are now employing a dissimilar way of processing epoxy resin, which enables them to shape the adhesive in contours other than spherical. The method creates a one-piece molded LED, eliminating the need for a separate outer shell. Whereas before, manufacturers had to seal diodes then encapsulate each in PC or PS.

The new lighting component is 40 percent brighter than the traditional variant. Without a separate novelty housings, it also saves 5 to 10 percent in material outlay. The cost of the formed epoxy resin, however, is higher and cancels out the reduction.

C6 is the standard LED size adopted for such products. Larger alternatives will add to expenses.


LED trends

Still dominating China’s selection are novelty practical lights, and LED candles and personal accessories, although liquidfilled table lamps and night lights are gaining popularity.

The last two categories are often in submerged themes or employed as promotional products, an example of which is a desktop model with a floating soda can inside.

Table lamps are usually foldable.

Liquid-filled night lights with decorations are quoted up to $5 each at Zhejiang Chuanshan.

LED branch lights are also a trend. Material outlay for such designs is 70 percent lower than leaf-covered versions. Neo-Neon’s three-piece set is between $10.50 and $14.50.

Table lamps with alarm and sleep-inducing features, and high-power LEDs go for $16 and above.

Wholesale clocks night lights, candles, and personal, pet and bar accessories are from $0.15 to $2. Sun jars, table lamps, glass accessories, and clocks with more functions and LEDs are $2.15 to $15.


Industry demographics

The 5,000-strong supplier base in China is composed of two types of enterprises. There are the usual gifts and premiums companies, and lights specialists that have extended selections to novelty designs. The bulk falls under the former, which carries a range of other color-changing knickknacks.

Annual gross revenue of small and midsize novelty light makers are under and above $1 million, respectively. Large companies generate more than $15 million each.

Most gifts and premiums suppliers outsource LEDs, and perform assembly in-house. Candles, toys, games, clocks, sun jars, and personal, pet and bar accessories are among the designs offered. Lights specialists make diodes, electrical wires and packaging materials, and rope, cluster and motif models.

Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces are the manufacturing centers of the line.