As anticipated, the IAW in Cologne was able to match past successes in terms of the high proportion of foreign attendees, visitor numbers and the sheer diversity of product segments represented by the exhibitors. The 320 exhibitors from Germany and throughout the world attracted 9,800 trade visitors from numerous countries to the IAW with their stunning array of products in exhibition Halls 6 and 9. In fact, attendances even topped the excellent figures achieved last year in some segments, and as Ulrich Zimmermann, managing director of IAW organizers Nordwestdeutsche Messegesellschaft Bremen-Hannover mbH, stated: “It is most gratifying for us to see that the event continues to attract increasing numbers of trade visitors from the most disparate target groups. There is no sign of this trend slowing. This means that our exhibitors can enjoy better results in terms of sales, business leads and contacts.”
As befits the IAW Spring Fair, the exhibition highlighted in particular products for the garden and outdoors, including decorative items. Leo Groeneveld, owner of the Dutch company Lesli Living, predicted: “In the garden furniture segment one clear trend was identified – the lighter coloured products did very well. Anthracite, which has dominated for many years, will now give way to more summery tones.” Another company that was hopeful of catching the sales trends of spring and summer was B.M.S. Burger und Müller GmbH, which promoted its innovative barbeque that combines a gas and charcoal barbeque. The IAW marked its product launch on the German market. Klaus Peitzmeier, spokesperson for Villa Verde Germany, confirmed the trend towards lighter colours, adding: “Apart from the packs of 100 white tea lights in aluminium cases, interest was focused entirely on clear containers and a whole range of variations.”
The IAW – International Trade Fair for Retail Promotions and Imports – always goes the extra distance to welcome new exhibitors to the event. This IAW, says one of its organizers, Kerstin Manke, welcomed some interesting debutants: “With countless new exhibitors from Germany and beyond, particularly France and the BENELUX countries, Southern and Eastern Europe and the UK, it was possible to forge new business ties and highlight new trends.” The feedback from the first-time exhibitors was also positive. “We are very pleased to be here in Cologne and finally reach regions where we had not previously operated – for example, Poland, Estonia and some other parts of northern Europe. We have attended trade fairs in Paris and Dubai, but for us the IAW in Cologne is by far the best”, said Export Manager Marco Massa from the Italian company Se.Com. Group S.p.A. Likewise Chris Holmes, export manager at Tallon International Limited, UK, who summed up the event: “It was a great trade fair, much better than we could have imagined – we had not expected such a broad range of customers.”
Following the successful cooperation with the trade fair Asia Pacific Sourcing in the spring of 2015, it had been decided to pursue another partnership for this year’s Spring Fair. This time the IAW teamed up with the INTERNATIONAL HARDWARE FAIR in Cologne, and the new source of target groups and clients brought its rewards. Visitors welcomed the opportunity to see what was on offer at both fairs: “We are new to this area of business and wanted to pick up some useful information. I think the collaboration between the two trade fairs is fantastic. The exchange between the two events can only be a good thing. I was surprised to find this line-up. I hadn’t expected it all”, said one visitor. Attendees at the INTERNATIONAL HARDWARE FAIR were able to decide spontaneously whether to visit the IAW as well. Visitors like Linus Keferstein, whose main interest was the International Trade Fair for Retail Promotions and Imports, were also delighted. He said: “I think it is super that I could view so many different products from so many different sectors. The product diversity here should not be missed.”
The IAW does more than keep ahead of trends. It aims to be an important showcase for what is new and exciting. One way in which it highlights new trends is the IAW Trendseller Product Award, which naturally featured again at this spring fair. The winning Smart Balance Board distributed by the Cologne-based C&T Handel GmbH is a scooter board for one rider which is propelled by a motorized axle. The jury felt it would catch consumer approval as it is suited to everyday use. Jury member Ulrich Eggert was immediately convinced. Within the space of a few months, explained C&T sales head Christoph Keller, the scooter has proven market-ready with a new rechargeable battery that will convince the market too with its sound product quality.
Another regular IAW feature is the Trendforum, which lines up keynote issues and top speakers who never fail to impress. Topical issues relevant to the trade and covering a wide spectrum make it ever-popular. This time, respected pundit Elmar Fedderke spoke about the importance of nurturing customer loyalty, while Mark Steier talked at a packed E-Commerce Forum staged by Restposten.de, explaining how dealers can use eBay usefully. Ralf Kühler and Tosin A. David entertained listeners in their talk on how fun can help sales and the otherwise serious topic of Entersalesment.
The next International Trade Fair for Retail Promotions and Imports in the coming autumn will take place from 27 – 29 September 2016 in Cologne in its traditional weekday slot from Tuesday to Thursday. More information from www.iaw-messe.de