With record levels of exhibitors and an impressive range of innovative products as well as offers on top themes such as sustainability, contract business and healthy sleep, Heimtextil 2019 enjoyed a dynamic start to the new season for home and contract textiles. The event’s new hall concept met with broad approval.
3025 exhibitors from 65 countries* took the international trade fair for home and contract textiles to a 15-year high: ‘Exhibitors and visitors accepted the new trade fair concept with great enthusiasm and confirmed the trade fair’s position as the world’s most important meeting place for the industry. The quality of the decision-makers impressed the exhibitors, as did the number of new business contacts from 156 countries, especially international ones – thus enabling Heimtextil to set a new benchmark’, says Detlef Braun, Member of the Board of Management of Messe Frankfurt. ‘Around 67,500 visitors* ensured that there was a busy atmosphere in the halls, despite a slight decline due to various reasons, such as difficult travel conditions on account of the storms in the alpine region and airport strikes in Germany’.
One topic that occupied both exhibitors and visitors was the current and future economic situation. A further challenge is the increasingly evident changes that are happening in trade. Increasing revenues and revenue shares in online retailing stand in the way of the efforts made by the stationary retail trade to maintain their inner-city businesses. ‘The small business specialist trade, but also department stores and multibrand stores, and thus the heart of our visitor target groups, are under pressure from the constantly increasing levels of e-commerce. With Heimtextil and our consumer goods fairs in general, we offer these retailers in particular clear perspectives and diverse inspiration in an ambiguous world’, continues Braun.
Economically challenging times for the home textiles industry
As a strong international trade fair platform, Heimtextil is important for the industry, especially in economically challenging times. Martin Auerbach, Managing Director of the Association of the German Home Textile Industry, praised the new trade fair concept: ‘The exhibitors started 2019 with a great deal of commitment and new and attractive stand designs. The new hall structure with the excellent new hall 12 enjoyed a high level of acceptance amongst exhibitors and visitors alike. The segments of furnishing fabric/curtains and interior privacy and sun protection, now presented together in a central position in hall 8, particularly benefited. Hall 4.2 was significantly upgraded compared with the launch year 2018 and was barely recognisable thanks to its clear structure, attractive design and high-quality exhibitors. Heimtextil has thus expanded the contract segment in an outstanding way’.
Hall 4: the world of furniture and decorative fabrics and a hotspot for contract business
Heimtextil once again focused on the furnishing of hotels and contract properties with a wide range of information and networking possibilities. Under the title Interior.Architecture.Hospitality, interior designers and hospitality experts experienced Heimtextil as the platform for textile contract furnishing. With product presentations, lectures and guided tours, it provided valuable impetus that was supported and made possible by renowned industry partners such as AITdialog, the Allgemeine Hotel- und Gastronomie-Zeitung (AHGZ), the Bund Deutscher Innenarchitekten (bdia), specialist conference organiser hotelforum management and the online platform WorldArchitects.com. Martina Metzner, owner of a communication office for interior design and design, gave a talk as part of the bdia trend lecture and took participants on guided WorldArchitects tours to selected suppliers of contract textiles: ‘At Heimtextil there is a clearly recognisable trend towards textiles being rediscovered in interior design. After having been banished from rooms for several years, they are increasing in importance again, not least because of a variety of new sound-absorbing functional textiles’. In hall 4.2, the company Trevira CS, together with 27 top customers and its own trend area especially aimed at the contract market, revealed how versatile and versatile polyester fibres can be in terms of both appearance and feel as well as their functional properties.
‘Trevira was very satisfied with Heimtextil 2019’, stated Marketing Director Anke Vollenbröker. ‘We also received great feedback from our co-exhibitors at our joint stand. We continue to take a very positive view of the way that hall 4.2 is developing into a contact point for decision-makers and companies active in the contract sector. This applies in particular to the range of activities on offer in the lecture area and the presentation of the hall itself’.
Heimtextil has been expanding its furniture and decorative fabrics segment and further growing its offer for several years now. For the first time this year, all the relevant European suppliers of furniture and decorative fabrics as well as upholstery and imitation leather presented themselves on three levels of hall 4. The most important manufacturers of upholstery fabrics from Asia that also have export experience were also represented in halls 1 and 5. All in all, Heimtextil combines the world’s largest and most international range in this segment, thus creating the best order options for buyers from the furniture and home textile industries as well as textiles editeurs. ‘We are surprised in a positive way by the trade fair’, says Robert Lachow, Vice President, J.B. Martin Company, Inc. ‘We acquired great contacts at the stand from twelve different countries. We have gained new customers that we would not otherwise have met and also spoken to existing customers at the trade fair for whom it was a good opportunity to meet us’. Dirk Hammes from the leather wholesaler Schreyeck confirms the positive effect of the new location: ‘We are of one mind here: the decision to put us in hall 4.2 was the right one. We’ve already been able to meet and target a more interesting audience from Germany and Europe than was the case in hall 3.0’.
Trends and progressive themes
In 2019, the Heimtextil ‘Trend Space’ had a new home in hall 3.0 for the first time. With the title ‘Toward Utopia’, it provides a preview of the design developments of the 2019/20 season as conceived by London’s FranklinTill Studio and staged by the Frankfurt studio Markgraph. The new Heimtextil Trends 2019/2020 in many ways reflect the desire to escape from complex lifestyles and create deeper relationships with our environment as well as bring more meaning into everyday life. ‘Toward Utopia’ shows the way into this modern utopia, from temporary time-outs in close contact with nature and a retreat into virtual worlds to cosiness in minimalist spaces and nostalgia for beauty and luxury.
The Trend Space shared a hall with international textile designers, CAD/CAM suppliers and digital printers and thus formed the core area for the progressive themes of trends, textile design and digital printing. Exhibitors such as Hewlett Packard benefited from this inspiring environment. Paula Camarasu, EMEA Large Format Production Marketing Manager, explains: ‘Exhibiting each year at Heimtextil opens up new opportunities for us. We launched HP Latex large format printing with a focus on wall coverings. But then we stumbled across a new market for window decoration. And there is now also market potential in a large number of other application areas. With the recently launched HP DesignJet Z9DR, which is ideal for design studios, the new hall 3.0 made it easier for us to get in contact with design studios. Heimtextil is a central contact point for many industries where we can all come together to network and do business’.
International show for new products in the wall coverings and wallpaper segment
Wallpaper manufacturers presented their wares in the biggest new product show of its kind in the world in hall 3.1. Wolf Kappen, CEO Marburger Tapetenfabrik J.B. Schaefer GmbH & Co. KG was one of them: ‘In the time that you’ve been waiting for me, I’ve spoken to customers from Iran, the USA, Russia and Germany who have all come to our stand to buy our wallpapers’. The example of FlowerArt shows just how interested the trade is in new product ideas and eye catchers. Jacqueline Hallmann, Head of Marketing was completely overwhelmed by the success of her moss walls: ‘We exhibited at Heimtextil for the first time. For us, the trade fair was an extremely positive experience because we’re different. People stayed for a while and wanted to know if our plant and moss walls are really genuine. In this respect, being able to touch them is an important element. We constantly had to get new catalogues from the car because we used up more than we thought we would. The response is astonishingly good. People think our product is fantastic and it’s great fun here’. Ruud Aberson, Managing Director of Eijffinger BV, also experienced an unbroken high level of interest from international buyers: ‘We mainly went to the trade fair to meet our customers. In this way, we can get our collections on the international market quite quickly. We felt that there were fewer visitors but it made little difference on the business side. We have been coming to Heimtextil every year since 2004 and will continue to do so’.
Window & Interior Decoration: valuable business impetus for the retail trade
Thanks to the optimised trade fair concept and the associated new hall structure, Heimtextil made it easier for its visitors to access valuable inspirations and business-related impetus. ‘The new concept brought more visitors to the stand’, was the feedback from Andreas Klenk, Managing Director of Saum & Viebahn from Kulmbach in Franconia about hall 8.0 which offered textiles editeurs and manufacturers of curtain and sun protection systems a common platform for the first time. ‘It was the right decision to merge the different segments. We had high quality conversations, both in export and domestic business, and are satisfied with the trade fair’. Around 40 international textiles editeurs with furniture and decorative fabrics were represented in the hall, including Style Library from the UK. David Butcher, General Manager Brands Style Library, expressed his satisfaction. Style Library comprises eight British brands: Zoffany, Harlequin, Sanderson, Morris & Co, Anthology, Scion, Clarke & Clarke and Studio G: ‘We successfully used Heimtextil for the German première of our group. We were able to present our eight brands and received some very positive reactions regarding the collections. We generated lots of new international contacts and enjoyed a very busy few days’.
The DecoTeam was one of the highlights of hall 8 with a presentation on holistic living concepts. Birgit Schlenker, spokesperson for the DecoTeam: ‘We were very happy with the new location in hall 8. With the presentation of atmospheric decorations and display window ideas, DecoTeam offered trade fair visitors lots of inspiration. A special highlight was the Deco Show with Enie van de Meiklokjes. Once again, the DecoTeam developed into a hotspot, as the visitors appreciate this kind of inspiration and the added value’. Hall 8.0 is a new fixture for the international trade, interior decorators and furnishers. ‘Hall 8.0 works brilliantly’, confirms Graham Bateman from Prestigious Textiles. ‘It was a good idea to change the structure’. We’ve been coming to the trade fair for 25 years and gained some very good impressions this year. Our visitors came from everywhere. The German market is just as important to us as international business’.
Natural materials, PET and ocean plastics
Heimtextil set a standard in terms of sustainability: after the first global climate protection agreement for the textile industry was signed by 40 leading fashion companies, organisations and associations at the World Climate Conference in Katowice last December, the focus in Frankfurt was also on environmental progress in the textile industry. Numerous exhibitors presented progressive solutions, for example in the recycling of PET bottles and ocean plastic as well as in the use of certified natural materials. ‘Sustainability was the theme for us at this year’s Heimtextil. Major media players visited us and the ‘Green Tour’ guided tour stopped by. We presented many things, including our first vegan duvet and fair silk products, all 100 per cent produced in Austria’, says Denise Hartmann, Marketing Manager at Hefel Textil. The topics of water consumption in the textile industry and microplastics also increasingly came to the fore. There were around 150 progressive companies with sustainably produced textiles in the ‘Green Directory’ exhibitor catalogue alone. The offer was supplemented by its own lecture series as well as theme-specific tours, which provided valuable impetus and underpinned the pioneering green position of the trade fair.
Sleep becomes new lifestyle theme
Heimtextil also focused on sleep as one of the upcoming lifestyle trends. While a balanced diet and sufficient exercise are now a natural part of a healthy lifestyle, restorative sleep is still neglected* although it is one of the most important building blocks for long-term physical and mental well-being. At Heimtextil, a number of new products and aspects came to the fore that help people become sensitised to and analyse their sleep behaviour and promote healthy sleep. Around the redesigned hall 11.0 and in the adjoining lecture area ‘Sleep! The Future Forum’, representatives from the national and international bed industry enjoyed attractive product presentations and superb speeches on the topics of sustainability, hospitality, sport and digital. Nick Littlehales, sleep coach of five-time World Cup footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and four-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, presented his findings from his 22 years as a sleep coach for top athletes. Prof. Ingo Fietze, Head of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Sleep Medicine at Berlin’s Charité and chairman of the German Sleep Foundation, was also one of the speakers and provided information about the ‘power engine of sleep’.
Exhibitors in hall 11 benefited from the first-rate multi-faceted presentation of the sleep theme as well as from the new design of the hall where international market leaders presented their new products in the product segment ‘Smart Bedding’. Bedding, sleep systems and mattresses as well as associated technology were available to peruse. Denise Hartmann from Hefel Textil confirmed: ‘We found the new concept and the fact all the bedding manufacturers are now together in one place very good. We had a good frequency of visitors to the stand, all the major customers were there’.
The world of bed linen and bathroom textiles in the new hall 12
As part of the new concept, Heimtextil also integrated the new hall 12, which has been an architectural highlight enriching the Frankfurt Exhibition Centre since September. Top international companies from the Bed & Bath Fashion segment presented their wares here. For the company Curt Bauer from Aue in Saxony, the première of the new hall was a successful one: ‘We’re very enthusiastic about the new hall 12. The product range there was very well received. We are very satisfied with the quality of visitors to our stand. In addition to a good frequency of German visitors, we are particularly pleased about growth from China and Russia’, says Managing Director Michael Bauer. Shrikant Himatsingka, Group CEO & General Manager of the company Himatsingka was also pleased about the high level of internationality amongst the visitors: ‘Our whole team was very busy and got excellent responses. Buyers from Germany and all corners of Europe, the Arabian and Asian regions were amongst our visitors, including many long-term business partners. For us, it was a good event’. Karl Lindhe, Export Area Manager from the Lexington Company also came to exhibit at Heimtextil for the first time again in a long while because of the new hall: ‘It’s really good that all the brands are together. We all benefit from each other. We were able to make good contacts, not only from Germany but also internationally’.
Product consolidation for accessories and lifestyle products
Product segments were also brought together in hall 9.0 to create new buyer synergies. Decorative cushions, covers, plaids and table and kitchen linen are now all presented in one hall. Appropriate, lifestyle-oriented accessories complete the offer for retailers. For Jan Alt, Managing Director of Zoeppritz, it proved to be a successful combination: ‘The new division of the product groups and hall areas seemed unusual and also avant-garde to us, but at second glance functional and practical, especially for professional buyers. We would like to pay tribute to the effort and outlay that Messe Frankfurt makes every year to keep Heimtextil interesting and at the same time not to jeopardise its importance in the market’. A special highlight in hall 9.0 was a new promotion for young talent. Here, ‘House of Textile’ presented the ten best ideas for a virtual room created as part of a university competition. The German Association of Home Textiles Manufacturers (Heimtex) launched the competition in cooperation with Heimtextil. The aim was to get an idea of what role home textiles will play in the areas of living, working and travel in 2025.