International Trade Fair for Home and Contract Textiles
Frankfurt am Main, 13 – 16 January 2010
Interview by Behnam Ghasemi for Kohan Journal
Mr. Detlef Braun is member of the board of management of Messe Frankfurt
1) Please tell us your assessment of 2010 year’s exhibition?
The stand bookings we have at the present moment suggest that participation in 2010 will be similar to that for Heimtextil 2009. However, in the case of home textiles we can sense quite clearly the struggle companies are having in trying to maintain their position in the wake of the economic crisis. We are aware of a few cases where stands are smaller this year, and of one or two cancellations which have resulted from economic necessity or a re-alignment in the market. On the other hand, we have also received a number of registrations from new or returning exhibitors, such as Bandex from Austria, Büschen, Porschen and Kratzer from Germany, Billerbeck from Switzerland, Maribbon from Greece, Reig Marti from Spain and Grund A.S. from the Czech Republic. Considered by product group, exhibitors in the bedroom, bathroom, table, wall coverings and decorative fabric segments are particularly active and, on the whole, all areas of application for interior fabrics will be well represented at the fair.
2) Could you explain to our readers the reasons for the decrease in the number of visitors in 2009? Will this continue right up until next year’s exhibition, or are you optimistic about improvements in the global economy and consequently for Heimtextil?
Clearly the world economic crisis did not pass Heimtextil by without leaving some traces. Just a few months after the financial crash, travel budgets were cut in many companies and jobs were consolidated. That has had an effect on visitor numbers at Heimtextil and will leave its mark in 2010 too. We are counting on a gradual stabilisation of the economic situation, which will occur differently in different parts of the world.
3) Undoubtedly Heimtextil accounts for the best and the most important event in the furnishings industry. The exhibitors were very pleased with the different aspects of the exhibition in 2009 but some of the European exhibitors believed that the presence of 800 companies from India and China was not appropriate. What are your thoughts on the matter?
At the end of the day, it isn’t us, it’s the market that determines the strength of China’s and India’s representation on the sector’s most important international platforms. As the world’s leading trade fair for home and contract textiles, Heimtextil is a mirror of the international home and interior textiles sector.
Europe, with its 54 percent share, continues to provide the majority of the exhibitors as it has always done. The leading European nations are Turkey, Italy, France, Spain, Belgium and Great Britain. Pakistan and China showed an increase in exhibitor numbers in 2009 – whilst India, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore were less strongly represented in comparison to the previous year. Visitor numbers for Germany and Europe (Great Britain, The Netherlands, Turkey, Spain, Poland) were also slightly down. Overall, exhibitor numbers indicate a level of international participation of 84 percent – as in the previous year. With such a high proportion, Heimtextil is unparalleled – and that also goes for the traditionally very large share of international visitors, amounting to some 64 percent.
As far as the growth of Chinese participation is concerned, it has, of course, increased over the past few years. India, too, continues to be the most strongly represented exhibitor nation outside of Germany. If manufacturing countries such as China and India can patently offer the whole gamut of textiles at all levels of quality, this inevitably leads to new constellations in the competitive market place; and these are also, of course, reflected in exhibitor numbers.
4) What are your opinions concerning the promising market in the Middle East and the importance of such exhibitions as Heimtextil to the traders and the manufacturers in this region? How many exhibitors and visitors did you have from the Middle East this year?
As a matter of principle, we keep a close eye on the way in which the international textile markets are developing. The Middle East does indeed have considerable potential and is an important market for the international textile industry, in terms of both production and sales. India and Pakistan specifically are very important business partners for the textile industry. In 2009 we had some 590 exhibitors and almost 3,000 visitors (without China: 1,753) from the Middle East at Heimtextil.
5) Please explain about Messe Frankfurt’s exhibition strategies, general policies and views on the organisation of textile exhibitions in different parts of the world?
Messe Frankfurt has been working with the textile sector throughout the world for more than 20 years now. The first trade fair outside Germany in the history of Messe Frankfurt was the apparel fabrics show, Interstoff Asia, in Hong Kong in 1987. The first overseas trade fair for technical textiles followed in 1992 with Techtextil Asia. With regard to home and contract textiles, the first show outside Germany took place in Russia in 1999. Since then, Messe Frankfurt has spread a communications network between the world’s most important textile centres, and has thus continued to demonstrate its core competence in textile fairs, for its customers across the world. With 25 events in seven countries worldwide, Messe Frankfurt is represented in all four areas – apparel fabrics, home and contract textiles, technical textiles, as well as, from 2011 onwards, the processing of textiles and flexible materials. Messe Frankfurt has, therefore, become an important link in the international textile industry, an acknowledged partner for both suppliers and consumers alike.
The aim of all Messe Frankfurt’s textile fairs is to assist manufacturers, dealers and buyers in establishing new business contacts, in opening up new areas of business and enhancing import and export potential, as well as honing awareness of new trends. In a market of extreme globalisation, which is in a constant state of flux, textile fairs offer the opportunity of always keeping one step ahead.
Background information on Messe Frankfurt
With annual revenues of € 440 million (2008) and over 1,500 employees around the world, Messe Frankfurt is Germany’s biggest fair and exhibition company. The corporate group has a global network of 28 subsidiaries, five branch offices and 52 international sales partners, which represent Messe Frankfurt in over 150 countries of the world. Events ‘made by Messe Frankfurt’ are held at over 30 venues worldwide. In 2008, the Messe Frankfurt group organised over 100 fairs, more than half of them outside Germany.