July 2023 China Lighting Industry Export Report

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In July 2023, the monthly export value of China’s lighting industry was $4.99 billion, a year-on-year decrease of 15.6%. The monthly export total remained relatively stable but experienced the third consecutive month of negative growth. Compared to June’s -14.3%, the decline expanded by 1.3 percentage points. From January to July 2023, the cumulative export value of China’s lighting products reached $33.59 billion, a year-on-year decrease of 4.1%. However, the export quantity decreased by approximately 16.4% compared to the previous year. Among them, the export value of LED lighting products was $24.95 billion, a year-on-year decrease of 4.5%, accounting for 74.3% of the total export value.

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Looking at the monthly data, 2023 can be roughly divided into three phases (January-February, March-April, May-July). The year started off weak, with an export value of $5.79 billion in January, a year-on-year decrease of 8.5%. In February, the export value plummeted to $2.33 billion, representing a significant decline of 30.3%. As a result, the export value for January-February recorded a year-on-year decrease of 16.5%, reaching a new low since March 2020.

In March, as post-holiday labor gradually returned and production capacity returned to normal levels, the backlog of orders was released, resulting in a significant rebound of 39.7% in monthly data. The momentum slowed down in April to 8.7%. Although it represented two consecutive months of growth, it was a substantial decline compared to March. The rebound in March-April was due to the timing of orders being postponed due to the pandemic and the Chinese New Year, as well as the proactive efforts of lighting companies to seek overseas orders after the pandemic.

From May to July, the export performance declined due to multiple adverse factors such as shrinking external demand and spillover effects in the supply chain. The downward trend became evident, with the decline expanding month by month.

In terms of export destinations, the previous trend of “sunrise in the east, rain in the west” continued. Exports to emerging economies along the “Belt and Road” achieved rapid growth, while exports to developed economies represented by Europe, America, Japan, and South Korea significantly declined. Although the incremental growth in emerging economies is considerable, it is not enough to offset the impact of the decline in developed economies such as Europe, America, Japan, and South Korea, resulting in an overall contraction in export volume.

Among the provinces involved in exports, there is a notable difference between the eastern and western regions. Traditional lighting manufacturing powerhouses in the southeast coastal areas, such as Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Fujian, performed relatively poorly this year. However, some non-traditional manufacturing strong provinces, such as Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, and Heilongjiang, significantly increased their export shares by relying on thriving border trade, to some extent compensating for the decline in exports from the main production areas.

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