7th International Fair for Promotional Products in Cologne has ended with a 5 per cent increase in visitor numbers
The trend-setting products of the future were unveiled at the 7th International Fair for Promotional Products (IAW) in Cologne. The innovative new items to be seen at the show ranged from the world’s fi rst bag specially designed for the safe transportation of plants and a clever extension hose for vacuum cleaners to a glass stove that can be used on the move and which runs on bioethanol. General trends within the industry include more products from the wellness, sports and outdoor sector, as well as a growing number of service offerings: “Today’s consumer can buy cheap insurance cover from one low-cost provider, a cheap flight from another, and a telephone contract from a third”, notes the Cologne trend-watcher Ulrich Eggert, who spoke on this subject at the IAW Trend Forum.
A big talking point within the industry at present is, of course, the upcoming UEFA European Cup in Austria and Switzerland. Retailers are hoping that this major sporting event will boost business in much the same way as the 2006 Football World Cup, when a whole country went wild with joy with car pennants and black-red-and-gold T-shirts. “We think that retro necklaces and fl ip-fl ops in national colours have the potential to become major best-sellers”, reports Andrea Schulz, Managing Director of texkon GmbH. In all more than 250 suppliers from all over Europe and all sectors of the retail trade presented their latest products at the Cologne Exhibition Grounds. Their displays covered an area of more than 22,000 square metres. For the fi rst time the organizers recorded over 6,000 visitors from hypermarkets, discount stores, supermarket chains, mail-order suppliers and the retail trade – an increase of 5 per cent compared with the last autumn show (5.837 visitors). “These figures confirm the leading position of IAW as Germany’s biggest trade show for promotional products,” notes show organizer Ulrich Zimmermann of Nordwestdeutsche Messegesellschaft Bremen-Hannover mbH. The exhibitors were likewise very satisfi ed with the event and with the large number of orders it produced: “We are very pleased with how the show went”, says Tom Lancee of Lancee Agenturen from Emmen in Holland. “On the very first day we signed up six new customers and ten potential new major orders.”
For the second time the IAW TRENDSELLER Product Award was presented at the show. First prize went to the “McElephant” hose extension for vacuum cleaners made by Mesa Products B.V. in Doetinchen, Holland. No more excuses: with this innovative new product, inaccessible corners are a thing of the past when doing the housework. The extension hose is made from a highly elastic PVC material, which allows you to vacuum every corner of the living room very easily, without having to drag the bulky vacuum cleaner around behind you. The highly fl exible hose won’t kink and can be extended to a maximum length of 7 metres. Another plus: when you have fi nished, the extension hose retracts automatically to less than 1.20 metres. It’s just the thing for vacuuming out the car, too, and it means that for many jobs you no longer need an extension cable. Another product selected for an award was the Camelion mobile phone charger and travel battery charger. Weighing just 60 grams, the charger will slip into any travel bag. It also features a new technology that allows the plug to be rotated through 90 degrees. A third TRENDSELLER award went to the STAR glass stove.
The Trend Forum had been expanded since the previous IAW show in the autumn, and this proved very popular with visitors. The Forum functioned as a central meeting place at the show, where retail experts addressed an audience of visitors on future trends in promotional products. Local expert Ulrich Eggert spoke about new trends in online shopping. A key role here is played by word-of-mouth marketing, which operates through online communities, blogs and MeCommerce. Christof Steinke of etracker GmbH in Hamburg supplied useful tips for monitoring outcomes of online activities. And Fritz Schladitz, B-2-B Sales Manager for Jochen Schweizer GmbH in Munich, gave a talk on the last day of the show about trade promotions based on service offerings.
The next IAW takes place from 9 to 11 September in Cologne. Further information can be found on the Internet at www.iaw-messe.de.