21st IAW in Cologne closes with record number of exhibitors and visitors


Popular, successful products, exhibitors from more than 20 countries, first-class organization and exhibition facilities in two halls – the 21st International Trade Fair for Retail Promotions and Imports impressed exhibitors and visitors alike. And the organizers were rewarded with a record number of visitors and exhibitors – as well as positive comments all round.

The IAW – International Trade Fair for Retail Promotions and Imports in Cologne closed on 5 March 2015. With 322 exhibitors occupying a 28,000 m² display area and 9,256 trade visitors from 65 countries (up by almost 5% compared with the Spring Fair in 2014), the event broke three records. „Our exhibitors were very pleased with the results“, concluded trade fair boss Ulrich Zimmerman, adding: „This level of satisfaction is the best praise we could receive. We are all the more determined to emulate this success at the next IAW in September.“
By the end of the first day, many exhibitors were already reporting that they had fulfilled their trade fair objectives. Those exhibitors attending the IAW for the first time, in particular, were extremely satisfied. On the second day of the IAW, Gerhard Riedmüller from Sparinsel, Austria, reported with some amazement: „We had sold out yesterday.“ Similarly, Claus Lachner from the Danish company Adexi said: “We are pleased to be able to showcase our products here. At the IAW we can reach our target group directly and have made many promising contacts.“ Speaking as a regular exhibitor, Craig Bowers from the English company Grant & Bowman, promised they would return again: „The first day of the trade fair was the best yet and we’ve been coming here to the IAW for six years now.“ Likewise Charles Peeters from Hahebo, Netherlands: „We generate at least 25 percent of our new contacts at the IAW. In addition, we always receive a large number of orders.“

Probably the main reason for the success of this IAW – and its predecessors – is the exceptional diversity of the product range, fine-tuned to market and seasonal needs, e.g. garden and barbeque equipment, outdoor and camping equipment, decorative items, textiles and travel accessories, plus a large selection of evergreen product segments such as cosmetics, body care and beauty, toys and games, electronic items and household goods. The IAW offers buyers everything they need to complete their stock requirements for the entire coming season.

Traditionally, the IAW is more than a trade fair for ordering. The IAW is a consistent and reliable trend barometer. At the 21st IAW the products with the most potential were highlighted in the long-standing contest for the IAW Trendseller Product Award. The winner in March 2015 was the „Smoothie Maker to go“ from the Danish company Adexi in Skoedstrup. „The ingenious thing about this product is a small but important new detail“, says Ulrich Eggert of Eggert consulting, a member of the judging panel. The cutting blade can be removed and replaced with a lid, which means that after mixing the container becomes a „take-with“ flask from which the smoothie can be drunk at home or anywhere. A newcomer to the IAW, the Bonn-based company One Button GmbH won second prize for its cell phone protective foil or Anti Shock Screen Protection. TV consumer guru Ralf Kühler explains: „The presentation at the exhibition stand clinched it for us. A cell phone display covered with this foil can even withstand blows from a hammer“.
This time, a third prize was given to two equally impressive contenders: China Trading (Cologne) for its Bluetooth selfie stick and Rayline Internationale Trade GmbH (Cologne) for the Rayline R 806 drone. The Trendseller product awards were presented on the first day of the IAW by Ralf Kühler, a well-known figure from the German TV Channel 21.
The trade show was rounded off by the Trend Forum, which featured various high-calibre experts speaking on topical issues. The Forum speakers within this relevant and informative program are always experienced people who offer their know-how – this time on advertising strategies, how to get started with online business and identifying market and consumer trends. The Trend Forum is organized in cooperation with the online trader platforms zentrada.de and restposten.de.  

In recognition of top-performing wholesalers, the European buyers‘ network zentrada has again presented its special award at the IAW. In the category „Top 20 best service providers“ the Polish fashion supplier Grupa Quattro came first due to its fast response times. Two regular IAW exhibitors were also successful: the Cologne-based company China Trading GmbH (a distributor of household goods, trend-led and seasonal products) was honoured for the fastest delivery times, while michel toys of Bad Oldesloe, Germany, a supplier of toys and gift items, was up among the top ranked companies because it achieved the highest level of customer satisfaction. Full details can be found at www.zentrada.de   

For the first time ever, the IAW was held in conjunction with Asia-Pacific Sourcing. Ulrich Zimmermann, organizer of the IAW, summed up:“The cooperation with Asia-Pacific Sourcing proved doubly rewarding. Firstly, our trade visitors gained added value because they could view an array of products from Asian manufacturers and distributors that complemented the range covered by the IAW. Secondly, our exhibitors benefited from additional footfall of visitors to Asia-Pacific Sourcing. In short: this was a successful premiere which generated new benefits.“

The success of the Spring edition of the International Trade Fair for Retail Promotions and Imports not only had positive effects for the suppliers and buyers who took part, but also produced some important benefits for the organizers Nordwestdeutsche Messegesellschaft. Numerous exhibitors have already booked their display space for the IAW in autumn. The 22nd IAW will take place from 22-24 September 2015 in Cologne in Hall 10.2. That event, of course, will be dedicated to the winter season and Christmas trading.

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