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Final Report of Ambiente

The German trade the driving force of Ambiente 2009 - Gifts are always in demand: satisfied exhibitors at the Giving trade fair - Trade visitors bank on quality and innovation

Around 135,000 trade visitors made their way to Ambiente in Frank¬furt am Main from 13 to 17 February. And they came with the aim of placing orders. Thus, the general economic downturn was not greatly in evidence during the world’s biggest trade fair for the consumer-goods sector. The trade proved to be receptive and willing to buy the new and innovative products being shown by 4,466 exhibitors from 86 countries. Interestingly, the economic barometer for the consumer-goods markets in Germany continues to point to fair and this resulted in an eight-percent increase in the number of German trade visitors. On the other hand, the economic situation led to a fall in the number of visitors from abroad, es¬pecially from com¬panies directly affected by the financial crisis, e.g., Great Britain, Spain, Russia, Japan and the USA. As in pre¬vious years, the best represented nation in terms of visitor numbers was Italy ahead of the USA, Great Britain, Greece and Switzerland.

“Many companies elected to take advantage of the opportunities offered by difficult times. And, as could be seen at the fair, this com¬mitment pays off. The trade – particularly the German trade – is grate¬ful for all new and potent ideas. With a stable and healthy Ambiente, Messe Frankfurt remains a tower of strength for the world¬wide consumer-goods sector”, said Dr. Michael Peters, Member of the Board of Management of Messe Frankfurt GmbH.

Numerous visitors and positive discussions at Giving Altogether, 1,306 exhibitors presented their latest products on around 43,000 square metres of exhibition space (net) at Giving, the world’s leading trade fair for presents, which brought together a huge range of gift articles, stationery, leather goods, toys, arts & crafts, smokers’ requisites, candles, glass objet d’art, fine textile prints and limited editions of exquisite hand-crafted products. Addi¬tionally, Kids World offered the newest and most original products for discerning children. At Carat, everything revolved around the dazzling world of genuine and costume jewellery. According to the Giving exhibitors, attractive things for the home are very much in demand, especially in times of economic difficulty. Although people are prepared to do without larger purchases, they compensate for this with small luxuries. This is also reflected by the areas of in¬terest of visitors to this year’s Ambiente where around a quarter of visitors were primarily interested in the Gifts Unlimited and Young & Trendy product segments.

Two thirds of exhibitors said they had achieved their goals for the fair. On the visitor side, this proportion climbed to over 90 percent. Two thirds of trade visitors polled were top managers and had ap¬propriate purchasing and decision-making authority.

German trade in fine fettle

An increase in demand from Germany and other European coun¬tries compensated for the lower level of demand from overseas caused by the economic downturn. Confirming this, Heinz Saller, General Manager of Casablanca, said, “The response to our as¬sortment at Ambiente and the mood among customers was good. We welcomed numerous European visitors – but not so many from the USA where dealers have been hard hit by the recession.” Also good was the number and quality of visitors to the exhibition stand of Gilde Hand¬werk Macrander, one of the biggest Ambiente ex¬hibitors. “Our stand was very busy. Christmas business was good for the German trade and there is no sign of a decline in consumer willingness to spend”, said General Manager Hamid Yazdtschi. The assessments of the individual companies and trade-association representatives are also reflected in the results of a poll conducted on estimates of the current economic situation, which are much less optimistic in the case of international than German exhibitors and visitors. In Germany, the current situation is not seen in such a negative light. Almost three out of four consider it to be satisfactory to good.

Battling the crisis with quality and innovations

The sector considers itself to be well armed against the crisis with high-quality products and novelties. “We haven’t noticed any re¬luc¬tance to spend – on the contrary. Never before have people cooked, dined and celebrated so much at home. All of our dis¬cussions have been positive”, said Klaus Heikenfeld, General Manager of Rader. For Reisenthel, too, there is no sign of a nega¬tive trend: “We are very pleased with the fair. The mood among our customers was good. In difficult times, it is important to think posi¬tively because this is the key to opening up new opportunities”, said proprietor Peter Reisenthel. Furniture supplier Kare was also able to ring up plus-points among trade visitors with new products: “We are pleased with the fair. Although customers were more careful in placing orders, we are sure that the follow-up will be all the more intensive. This year, we presented over 1,000 new products and innovations. And customers appreciate this – their customers want authentic articles for an attractive home”, explains General Manager Peter Schonhofen.

Buyers also banked on quality and innovation in the jewellery sec¬tion. “Customers are looking for extraordinary products, and new ideas are particularly in demand. This was something we could offer and are, therefore, very pleased with the course of business at the fair”, said Marion Stolp, General Manager of Kreuchauff Design. Despite the negative news headlines, the outlook for the new busi¬ness year is also seen in a positive light at Horwitz. “We are very pleased with Ambiente, which was much better than expected. Our customers were not shy in placing orders – on the contrary, their outlook is optimistic”, says General Manager Frank Hengsbach.

New Ambiente from 2010

Ambiente will have a completely new look from next year with the range of exhibits at the world’s biggest consumer-goods fair being completely restructured. Thus, Dining will move to the eastern side of the Exhibition Centre, the side nearest the city centre, and occupy Halls 1 to 6. Consequently, Living and Giving will be located in the western section. Moreover, the new Hall 11 will be integrated into the fair. This new structure will make it possible to provide more room for market segments with a potential for international growth, e.g., fashion¬able products for the kitchen and designer ar¬ticles. At the same time, the exhibition space for individual product groups will be reallocated to match changes in exhibitors’ assort¬ments and channels of distribution. From next year, therefore, trade visitors to Ambiente will benefit from shorter walking distances and be able to find their way around the fair more efficiently.

The next Ambiente will be held in Frankfurt am Main from 12 to 16 February 2010. Ambiente presents the latest products and trends for the table, kitchen, housewares, giving and home decor.

Giving trends:

Distant lands close to home

The decorating sector sets off on a trip around the world. Sculp¬tures, masks and figurines bring the Venice carnival or Paris cafe culture to life in your home. Animal sculptures and safari motif pictures invite you on a trip to Africa. Africa isn’t the only big theme, Cuban lifestyle is also very popular in the furnishing segment – rustic style musicians, dancers and instruments will add some Caribbean flair to your do¬mes¬tic surroundings. Arabian style lamps and candlesticks will whisk you away to the fairytale world of the Orient. A fresh sea breeze blows through the spring/summer collection, thanks to blue and white shells, fish ornaments and decorative objects.

Reminiscent of a bygone era This is where memories come to life! In the season ahead, colourful spots and stripes, mostly in pastel colours, adorn decorative pieces and tableware. Small, fifties and sixties style, nostalgic vehicles, wall clocks and tables perfect this trip back in time. Handicrafts like crochet, knitting and embroidery are making a comeback and, in line with this, manufacturers offer china featuring dainty old-English floral designs in an antique look.

Lilac/berry colours and objects combine, inspired by the world of fashion and furnishing. In spring, floral patterns and ornaments featuring a mix of pastel tones join in. Natural materials like raffia, hemp and jute are incorporated into the white living world so it doesn’t look sterile. Manufacturers are also buying more into feel. Delicate structures and openwork patterns grace the surfaces of porcelain, clay and metal. Glass splinters and mirror mosaics show off stone and ceramic objects.

Richly contrasting jewellery pieces

Whether it’s a luxurious pendant, large-link necklace or art motif, in the jewellery sector attracting attention is on-trend. Large, asym¬metrical, polished stones reflect the desire for individuality. When it comes to crystals, salmon pink as well as lilac are gaining ground. Colour effects are a key theme here. The design language is often plain and simple. What’s essential is contrast, both in terms of material mix and surface. Jewellery items are brushed, woven or matte. Flowers and plant motifs are extremely popular. In the gem¬stone segment, dark blue tanzanite is just as popular as coloured cultured pearls.

Some additional exhibitor statements:

Boltze Gruppe, Adrian Boltze, General Manager: “The mood among our customers is good, despite the fact that they are more careful in comparison to previous years. Nevertheless, we are still satisfied with the course of business at the fair. The sector is not so directly affected by the financial crisis. However, the difficult economic situation and the large number of people out of work are having an effect.”

Hardy’s Import & Design, Inga Neubauer, General Manager: “The fair was good for us. Although there were fewer visitors than last year, the level of visitor quality has been higher. Customers are be¬coming more discerning. For this reasons, manufacturers are well advised to rely on quality and that extra-special something.”

Hoff Interieur, Walter Adler, proprietor: “We are optimistic. Cus¬tomers are more careful. However, the number of visitors to our ex¬hibition stand at Ambiente was good, as was the number of orders taken.”

Out of the Blue, Marek Ahmad, Executive Manager: “The mood has been very good and many dealers came to our stand, particularly during the first days of the fair. The large number of visitors gave us good reason to be very satisfied.”

Nici, Angelika Reng, Marketing Manager: “Our customers showed considerable interest but were cautious in placing orders. The volume is down. Buyers are more careful and order in smaller quantities. We anticipate moderate growth, especially in the export sector, and are taking an optimistic view of the coming business year, which the press portrays in a much too negative light.”

Ruppenthal, Roman Ruppenthal, General Manager: “We think the coming business year will be good. We didn’t notice anything of the financial crisis last year. The goldsmiths want good quality. Quality is stable in price because high-grade precious stones are rare. Customers are looking for extraordinary articles with which they can stand out from the crowd.”

Hubner, Heidi Hubner, proprietor: “Our customers ordered less and were more careful about colours. They are relying on jewellery that sells itself. The costume jewellery sector is not affected by the financial crisis. Things are more difficult in the field of genuine jewellery.”

Background information on Messe Frankfurt

With annual revenues of € 436 million (November 2008) and over 1,400 employees around the world, Messe Frankfurt is Germany's biggest fair and exhibition company. The corporate group has a global network of 29 subsidiaries, five branch offices and 48 international sales partners, which represent Messe Frankfurt in over 150 countries of the world. Events 'made by Messe Frankfurt' are held at over 30 venues world¬wide. In 2008, the Messe Frankfurt group organised over 100 fairs, more than half of them out¬side Germany.

At present, the Exhibition Centre can boast 322,000 square metres of exhibition space with nine exhibition halls and a congress centre. The company is publicly owned with 60 percent being held by the City of Frankfurt and 40 by the State of Hesse.

Further information: www.messefrankfurt.com

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