Gifts Today magazine

Interior Lifestyle China concludes with strong optimism

Leading trade fair in China sees a record number of exhibitors, strong exhibitor results and plenty of optimism despite current market difficulties

The leading trade fair in China for the mid-range and high-end household products and accessories market, Interior Lifestyle China, concluded last month with positive feedback from the record 379 exhibitors from 14 countries & regions (2014: 235) taking part. This number represented a 61 percent increase year-on-year. 20,610 buyers from 60 countries & regions attended the fair (2014: 21,773 from 60 countries & regions) which took place across 20,000 sqm (gross), the same area as last year.

Ms Wendy Wen, Senior General Manager of Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, speaking as the fair concluded, said: “There is lots of optimism in the market despite current potential difficulties. Both overseas and domestic exhibitors were optimistic about the Chinese market, especially in the mid-range and high-end sectors. Many exhibitors also commented to us that because the fair attracted numerous quality buyers who had the intention to place orders, their overall experience was a positive one. Given all the news in recent months of a slowing Chinese economy, it was perhaps no surprise that some buyers were hesitant to attend this year. However, we feel the quality of the buyers attending as well as their business activities have more than offset this.”

High satisfaction levels by debut and recurring exhibitors
Due to the remaining strong potential in the Chinese consumer goods market, a number of first-time overseas exhibitors participated in Interior Lifestyle China this year to seek out these opportunities, including English porcelain tableware supplier Portmeirion Group. “Our products have been very popular with visitors to our booth, and retailers in particular love them,” Mr Phil Atherton, Group Sales and Marketing Director explained. “We’ve had very positive feedback from buyers. Based on what’s happened so far, we will be back next year.”

Another debut exhibitor, Cessot Décoration from France, was equally pleased. Mr Frédéric Gueury, Export Manager said: “We made some good high-end contacts, and met two potential customers in particular who have 85 and 300 retail stores, respectively, so they could potentially place big orders with us. We were surprised we could sell high-quality products here, and there is definitely a market for it. Price isn’t a problem for buyers in China, so we’re quite optimistic about the market.”

This market potential was echoed by many other exhibitors, including another first-time participant, Italian cookware company TVS. “Our sales haven’t been affected by the economic situation as we have high-quality products for the high-end of the market,” Mr Giuseppe Alberto Bertozzini, CEO, stated. “There’s lots of potential in the Chinese market, especially for high-end and made-in-Europe products,” he continued, “so we’re achieving a good result here with our Italian-made items.”

Recurring exhibitor Peugeot from France was taking part for the fifth time with its tableware and wine accessories. “The people we’ve met with have been very high-end buyers so overall it’s been good,” Mr Aymeric Geant, Sales Executive Vice President, said. “We’ve got some good contacts with distributors and online sales portals that match our target and we can work with.” Commenting on the market potential, he said: “The long term potential is still here. It is huge potential really, as targeting just a small percentage of the population is enough.”

Chinese consumers still have strong demand for overseas brands in the mid-range and high-end household products and accessories market
Having been in the Chinese market for 10 years, Mr Oliver Hemming, CEO of Oliver Hemming from Hong Kong, also explained the ongoing appeal of overseas brands and products amongst consumers in China. “[Overseas brands are] definitely more attractive to Chinese buyers…as that’s what the consumers want. And they want the overseas design and quality aspects too.” Other Asian suppliers also reported strong interest. “Chinese buyers really like our Japanese products, even our expensive items, people like them and buy them,” explained Mr Kotaro Nishibori, a Director, at T.C.I. Laboratory. “The capacity of Chinese buyers to purchase is getting higher and higher, so the last two days have been very busy for us.”

New and unique products at the fair were also very popular in a market where consumers are always looking for distinctive products. Mr Emre Colakoglu, International Operations Sales Manager of Turkish textile producer Home Sweet Home, outlined: “Our new digitally printed carpets are popular here; actually we’ve had too many enquiries to handle for these and everyone has been asking about them.” As another first-time participant, they were also pleased with their experience at the fair. “This fair has exceeded our expectations. Being here we can see the potential in the Chinese market, and we received good buyers at our booth including retailers and chain stores.”

High-end buyers satisfied with fair’s selection
Mirroring these statements, many buyers reported their satisfaction with the range of products on offer. “We are an agent for overseas household product brands so came to look for brands we could cooperate with,” Shanghai Greenlife’s Mr Xie Lei said. “This fair features many brilliant brands and provides us with a wide range of choices, and we plan to cooperate with some of the exhibitors here.”

Ms Cathy Wang, a designer from Royalcover Hometex was also impressed by the quality of exhibitors on offer. “This is the first time I have attended, and I can find many premium brands here. I’ve talked with a lot of exhibitors here and have already placed orders with some of them.” Another satisfied buyer was Mr Alex Shen, Sales Manager at Shanghai Exland, who compared Interior Lifestyle China favourably to other household product exhibitions he attends. “The products at this fair are more focused on the high-end of the market,” he said.

Expanded fringe programme supported by leading industry brands
Interior Lifestyle China is known throughout the domestic industry as having a world-class fringe programme, and this reputation was further enhanced this year. One of the main features was the Theme Area by Elle Decoration – "Sense of Life" which involved the support of Sennheiser as a special partner, while another was the On Design Shanghai – Interior Lifestyle China “Beyond Architecture” exhibition which was organised in conjunction with the Shanghai Promotion Center for City of Design. And returning again was the Home Style Award, which this year partnered with world-renowned design agency iF International Forum Design.

A number of panel discussions and forums also took place, and this year’s expanded offerings were well received according to the fringe programme’s adviser, Ms Yan Mi, Founder & Creative Director of MY studio, China. “The audience in the forums had high praise for the content, while those visiting the display areas appreciated the arrangement of these interactive zones,” she explained.

Interior Lifestyle China 2016 will take place from 20 – 22 September, and is organised by Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co Ltd. For more information about the fair, including pictures from this year’s edition, please visit www.il-china.com




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