The international trade fair for retail promotions closes on a high note – with more exhibitors, more visitors and more display space booked than ever before.
The IAW – International Trade Fair for Retail Promotions and Imports closed in Cologne last week after having achieved some impressive attendance figures. For the first time the number of exhibitors topped the 300 mark. Exhibitors from over 20 countries came together with approx. 8,900 trade visitors from home and abroad (this represents a 10% improvement compared with the last spring fair). The trade fair organizer Ulrich Zimmermann was understandably delighted: “More exhibitors, more visitors, more occupied stand space – there was growth in every trade fair parameter.” Due to the positive development of the IAW the trade fair organizers have already booked an additional exhibition hall for their next trade fair at the Cologne venue.
However the success of the IAW is not simply measured by quantitative parameters. Growth also impacted on the quality of the event and the optimistic mood. The exhibitors were full of praise. Jens Uflacker from Harms Import & Vertriebs GmbH & Co. KG, Westerstede reported: “We are very pleased with the frequency of the event”, and the mix of sectors at the IAW is perfect.” The forthcoming World Football Cup in Brazil, as well as seasonal products for outdoors and gardens, were dominant themes at many of the stands. Jürgen Westerholt, whose Wardenburg-based company Jürgen Westerholt GmbH was represented at the fair, reported: “Keen demand, especially for our ornamental garden products”, and added that he was “very satisfied with the IAW, where business was good from the very first day”. Foreign exhibitors who came from far and wide to Cologne were also very pleased by the outcome. “The IAW was well attended and generated a lot of potential business. We will definitely come again”, said Andrew Greenaway from United Brands Ltd. in Leeds, UK. Likewise, a newcomer at the IAW, Tomasz Otrembski, from Eurocosmetics in Poland: “We are really happy with the IAW. We received lots of enquiries and were able to make many new contacts.”
The trade fair boasted a vast spectrum of trend-leaders and promotional products – from practical to frivolous, quirky to stylish, traditional to uniquely innovative. There were plenty of unusual ideas, including a stick-on beard in the national colours black, red and gold for the World Cup, solar-lit bird houses and retro-look telephone receivers. However, as Project Manager Kerstin Manke points out: “Most of the orders and the focus of attention centered on the diverse range of more conventional promotional products, such as textiles and toys, tools and writing utensils. The keynote themes of the event were the categories “Garden & Barbeque” and “Outdoor & Camping”. Speaking about the IAW’s success this spring, Kerstin explained: “In particular the new exhibitors, especially the newcomers from France, the Benelux countries and, of course, Germany, were able to demonstrate their strong product offers.”
Taking orders is an important part of the IAW, but the event offers so much more – for example, it also serves as a vital barometer for trends. It is the place where products make their debut and in the months to follow some of them even become absolute “must have” buys. In this context, the IAW plays a big part in identifying such best-sellers. The three products that made the biggest impact received the Trendseller Product Award, the “Oscar of the retail promotions sector”. This time first prize was awarded to the mobile “COOL BOX” speaker marketed by Krüger & Gregoriades GmbH from Hamburg. The “COOL BOX” is a small, lightweight box, scarcely bigger than two cigarette packs, which amplifies the ring tone of a telephone. The nearfield speaker uses the magnetic waves of the mobile and amplifies the sound of the equipment – simply by being placed on it. It’s a great device not only for outdoors, but also for teleconferencing in the office. Second prize went to the Offenbach company tepro Garten GmbH for its Cool Bar. This drinks cooler is a double insulated box with a table top surface for glasses that can be adjusted for height. It has a stylish look that makes it suitable for use indoors and outdoors. The mobile photo studio from Sweety Toys (Lichtenfels-Trieb, Germany) received the third prize. This mobile and foldable lightbox, which has a worldwide patent, is ideally suited to making quality product photos for online shops and powersellers. The Trendseller Product Awards were presented on the first day of the trade fair by one of Germany’s best-known shopping channel presenters, Ralf Kühler, from Channel 21.
The Trendforum, a focus for the promotional products sector and a platform for retail and marketing experts, took place alongside the usual trade fair activities. The Forum complements and adds to the depth of the trade fair content. The speakers at the Forum spoke on effective advertising, process efficiency in online shopping and emerging retail trends. The Trendforum was organized in cooperation with key players, including the online platforms zentrada.de and restposten.de.
On Thursday, at the end of three action-packed days at the trade fair, the overwhelming majority of the exhibitors were completely satisfied with the results achieved at the IAW. Many of them echoed the sentiments of Mario Haltermann, managing director of SDH Markenwaren from Ottersberg: “The IAW was an all-round success, a great event which we are really pleased with.” Accordingly, many exhibitors have already reserved display space for the autumn event, which will take place from 23-25 September 2014 in Halls 10.2 und 11.1 at the Cologne Exhibition Grounds.