Thursday, August 29, 2013

International views at SAFTAD

Representatives from six global brands this year attended the SA Fishing Tackle Agents and Distributors (SAFTAD) trade show as guests of their local distributors. They shared their views on global trading conditions in the fishing industry.

Globally, fishing markets are down – except in China, where it is growing, says Masazumi Miyazawa, commercial director Europe and Africa of the major fishing bait company Marukyu. He was on the stand of their local distributor, Goya Trading, where he was joined by former Tackle Trade World editor Nick Marlow. He now works “on the other side of the industry” for Marukyu Europe and Africa CEO John Loftus, a former Shimano MD.

 “The market in Europe is dying,” says Miyazawa. Japan is still recovering from the effects of the Tsunami, he adds.

He found the European fishing tackle trade show, EFTTEX, very quiet this year - although it was better than what he anticipated.  But, he was impressed with the SAFTAD show and anticipated that their products would do very well in the South African specimen carp market.

Masazumi Miyazawa, commercial director of Marukyu Europe and Africa, was on the Goya Trading stand

Dave Bulthuis, vice-president global sales at Costa del Mar visited SAFTAD as guest of their new Southern African distributor, Rapala VMC SA. “We needed a bigger distributor that could grow our products faster in South Africa and into Africa,” he explains the need for a change. 

“I’ve known Mark [Pledger, of Rapala VMC SA] for many years through the international group.”
Founded thirty years ago, the Costa del Mar brand is well-known amongst anglers across the world and this year their Tuna Alley frame won the Best Eyewear award at the ICAST show. The flagship 580 patented technology removes yellow light and visual noise, explains Bulthuis, ensuring a clear, crisp, lens and colour saturation.

 “The customer who is prepared to spend R3 000 on a reel, also wants good equipment for something that is so much more important, namely his eyes. To have fishing success, you must be able to see better,” says Pledger.

Dave Bulthuis, vice-president global sales for Costa Del Mar, with Mark Pledger of their new Southern African distributor, Rapala VMC SA

Australian eyewear brand Mako also had international representatives on the stand of their new Southern African distributor, Mustfish. Global brand manager Daniel Burgess and marketing manager Dominic Wiseman know their new distributor Lloyd Pereira from his days at AJF Agencies, who used to distribute the brand before becoming a diving specialist.
Apart from enjoying some fishing, they could take the pulse of the South African market, which they believe faces the same issues as most international markets – tough trading, unfavourable exchange rates, customs, etc.

While fishing is their core market, Mako sunglasses are widely used for all activities, says Burgess. Their insect repellent and mirror coating placed on the inside of the lens to prevent scratching and the hardy materials used in the frames make them especially popular.

Mako international brand manager Daniel Burgess and marketing manager Dominic Wiseman visited their new distributor Lloyd Pereira of Mustfish.

Mustfish also hosted Jan Lybekk, the Mustad market manager from Norway, who says that the hook brand is doing well in South Africa, and that he has high hopes that the new distributor will grow it stronger than ever before. “Lloyd understands the market and gives us good feedback.”

But, he acknowledges that the whole EMEA region is experiencing tough trading conditions, with pricing and remaining competitive major challenges. “But, I see an improvement this year.”

Jan Lybekk, international market manager for Mustad, is happy with the performance of the brand under their Southern African distributor, Mustfish.

The American market, on the other hand, is already well on the way to recovery, reports Peter Foley, a regular visitor to SAFTAD and the Apex Walker Brands stand, distributors of his Boone Bait brand. “The American market is growing overall and several companies reported growth figures of 40% and more,” says Foley, who is also a long-standing American Sportfishing Association (ASA) board member.

In the past financial year monthly sales in his company had every time been ahead of the previous year. While he is happy with the brand’s performance in South Africa, he is aware of the problems created by the exchange rate and the 20% drop in currency.

Peter Foley of Boone Baits is a regular visitor to the Apex Walker Brands stand at SAFTAD.

Apex Walker Brands this year hosted another international visitor - Kevin Saines, director of Jarvis Walker Australia. “The fishing tackle industries have matured in most developed markets – Europe has especially experienced a significant decline, although the US is improving,” he says. And as the world economy is showing signs of improving, consumer confidence is growing, he believes.

Strong products and offering value for money are the keys to success in tough trading conditions, he believes. “Fishermen continue to fish, they just don’t spend as much.” Therefore, consumers would rather spend their money on lines and lures, items with lower purchase values. When the economy is bad, it becomes more difficult to sell top end higher value goods.
Successful companies offer various price points and in South Africa Apex Walker Brands offer a good assortment, he believes.

Fin-nor is a specialist saltwater and Quantum a top quality specialist bass brand, while Rovex, developed in Australia, covers the middle price range. Jarvis Walker offers strong value for money and caters for the budget conscious.

“All of these brands are doing well here,” says Saines.

It is the fifth South African visit of Kevin Saines, director of Jarvis Walker Australia. 


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