There is nothing very special about being able to move twice as quickly as other pedestrians, but for most people it is quite astonishing if this is achieved without even moving one’s feet. Moving around in an almost effortless state of elevation, as if hovering along, clearly impressed the jury responsible for selecting the winners of the IAW Trendseller Product Award. On 7 March first prize was therefore awarded to the Cologne company C&T Handels GmbH for the futuristic “Smart Balance Board” at the International Trade Fair for Retail Promotions and Imports (IAW) in Cologne.
Following the principle of the Segway, this self-balancing scooter involves standing on a board fixed above an axle with two motorized wheels. It is steered simply by leaning in one direction or the other, shifting weight on the board. The board has a top speed of up to 12 km per hour and, thanks to the li-ion battery, it can travel up to 20 km without recharging. “Most people think of ‘Back to the Future’ when they see the hover board”, says Christoph Keller, Head of Sales at C&T Handels GmbH. However, despite the initial impression, the board, unlike the scooter in the cult film, does not actually hover. This effect is, however, reinforced by LED lights on the board.
This new form of conveyance captured the jury’s attention and, not surprisingly, won first prize in the IAW Trendseller Product Award at the 2016 Spring Fair. According to the jury chairperson Ulrich Eggert, there is virtually no limit on the target groups for this product, which should prove popular among every consumer group: “Everything is on the move now. People need to be mobile too – mentally and physically.” The Smart Balance Board scooter is suitable for everyone young or old up to 100 kg in weight. More information from: www.chinatradingcenter.de.
The product category “Floristry and Gardens” often produces sophisticated and high-quality innovations. A good example of this is demonstrated by the second prize, which went to the stone basket range Design Gabion from the company Gabio Wire Design (www.gabio.biz) in the Slovakian town Trencin. Supplied as a complete self-assembly set no bigger than a Frisbee, it is easily put together to make a 30 cm gabion or mesh basket, including an internal container for flowers, plants or herbs. The basket is then decorated by filling with small pebbles or stones. Jury member Ralf Kühler, a German TV shopping channel personality, enthused: “Quality always shines. ’Design Gabion’ looks good indoors or outdoors on the patio, on the balcony or in the garden.”
Third place went to a practical everyday gadget called D-Tangle. This tiny box, which is no bigger than a box of matches, is made by DigiMem from Bad Camberg, Germany, and stores the leads of ear phones or ear buds safely, preventing annoying knotting. Suitable for practically every brand, this useful organizer can hold leads up to 120 cm which can be extended to the desired length and then drawn back in automatically at the press of a button. The lead is simply and easily drawn in or out as required. A clip is also provided that allows the organizer to be attached to a belt or bag (www.digimem.eu).
Another product that caught the attention of the jury and won fourth place in the competition was a quirky cigarette ash container. This brainchild of sticky jam GmbH (www.stickyjam.de), a company based in Hamburg, reminds smokers that smoking is bad, but it should not be made worse by not disposing of the ash and dog ends properly. Cigarette stubs can be easily disposed of in a tiny sealed bag until they are finally thrown into a suitable refuse bin. Apart from the stylish design, the ash containers are distinguished by amusing puns in German on the smoking theme.
The IAW – International Trade Fair for Retail Promotions and Imports will still be offering trade visitors a comprehensive overview of the latest retail trends until Wednesday, 9 March. More than 300 exhibitors from all over the world have arrayed their seasonal products and fast-selling merchandise on a display area of 28,000 m². Buyers will find a wealth of product ideas to boost sales. On Tuesday 8 March trade professionals will also be able to visit the prestigious INTERNATIONAL HARDWARE FAIR in Cologne which is taking place in conjunction with the IAW.