Gifts Today magazine

10% buyer increase at Intertextile Shanghai

The Autumn edition of the China International Trade Fair for Home Textiles and Accessories saw a significant increase in visitor numbers

Last month’s Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles was hailed as a resounding success after a very strong 10% increase in buyer numbers (compared to 2013). A total of 43,189 buyers from 94 countries and regions came to source from 1,334 exhibitors from 31 countries and regions. 38,571 buyers from China and 4,618 from overseas attended, while the top five visitor countries and regions besides Mainland China were Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Russia and the US. The fair took place at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre from 27 to 29 August 2014 across 150,400 sqm, the largest in the 20-year history of the event.

Speaking at the conclusion of the fair, Senior General Manager of Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, Wendy Wen, outlined how the fair has always evolved to stay close to the market. “This year was a special fair for us marking the 20th anniversary, and as always, we made sure the show provided the market with the right features at the right time. We invited more local designers to educate buyers on interior trends this time, and it was also pleasing to see that these buyers were still showing strong demand for overseas brands, particularly those from Europe with a long heritage.”

Strong demand for overseas bedding & upholstery brands from domestic market continues
European bedding & towelling brands are doing particularly well in the Chinese market at present, with the German company, Curt Bauer with over 200 stores in China, as one of those that had a successful fair. “This is a very important fair, not only for China but also Asia,” explained Managing Director Michael Bauer. “Many people come here from other countries to have a look or to buy something, but overall it’s a good platform to tap into the Chinese market.”

This market still holds much potential according to exhibitors. Maria Antónia Alves, Senior Sales Manager of Mundotextil, Portugal said, “The quality and design of products is very important for Chinese buyers so there is still that demand for European brands. Our brand and quality & design are what separate us from other exhibitors here and give us an advantage.”

Upholstery fabrics from Europe also remain popular with Chinese buyers. “We saw so many buyers coming to our booth that we didn’t have enough people to handle the traffic,” said Chandler Chen from Italian exhibitor Dream Fly Fabric, producers of high-end curtains and wall coverings. “Consumers here are paying more attention to product quality and design nowadays, and we believe demand for high-end products in China will keep rising in the future.”

British exhibitor MYB Textiles returned to Intertextile for the second time, and benefited from the repeat experience according to Hazel Ritchie. “We’ve had quite a few orders placed and repeat buyers from last year have come back,” she said. “Being here in 2013 proved to us the demand for our products is present – there really is demand for high-end European products in China, and definitely in the larger cities. We’ve got dozens and dozens of contacts here this year, including a lot of interior designers and showrooms.”

Country & region pavilions attract buyers from around the world
This year’s country and region pavilions from Belgium, India, Italy, Korea, Taiwan and Turkey, and the new Morocco Pavilion were popular with exhibitors and buyers alike. “All of the exhibitors were very happy with this pavilion,” explained Mark Vervaeke from Fedustria, the Belgium Pavilion organiser. “In general they were satisfied with the number of visitors coming mainly from China, Korea, elsewhere in Asia and the Middle East, and they feel they met the right contacts here,” he continued.

“The Morocco Pavilion has been popular; our products are of good quality and at an affordable price in the mid-range to high-end sectors, and there’s a demand for that here,” Ahmed Abarkha from Morocco Pavilion organiser Marocexport outlined. Texprocil, the organiser of one of the two Indian Pavilions, was also satisfied as Joint Director Ravi Narayanasamy explained: “It’s been good for our exhibitors here. The visitor turnout has been pleasing, and it’s been good to meet new buyers from Israel, Saudi Arabia, Italy, the UK and the US, as well as our existing Chinese customers. We’re satisfied with the outcome of the pavilion, and we’ll probably come back bigger next year.”

Carpets & rugs and wall coverings gain prominence as fair expands its product offerings
In recent years, Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles has expanded from its traditional offerings to include a full range of home textile products. This reflects the recent increased demand in the local market, particularly for carpets, rugs and wall coverings, as well as for the current ‘whole-home design’ concept trend. Carpet and rug exhibitors noticed a definite increase in demand for their products, including Aviva Enterprises from Pakistan. “As a carpet manufacturer it’s beneficial for us to be here,” Faisal Ali explained. “Carpets and rugs are more of a luxury item in China, so at this fair we get to see more high-end buyers. We had good business at last year’s fair and we’ve gotten repeat orders this time around from these same buyers. China is a good market to be in; there’s lots of potential here and more capacity to grow.”

Ashish Sharma from Sharda Exports of India was in agreement. “There is huge potential in the Chinese and Asian market as people are getting more and more attracted to home decoration items, of which rugs are an important part. The demand has been increasing due to the rise in sales of new houses, residential buildings and malls here in China.”

Wall covering exhibitors were also happy with the range of buyers they could meet at a complete home textiles fair. “The good thing about this fair is we see many visitors at our booth, other than just wallpaper buyers,” Chinese exhibitor Suzhou Wallmate’s Regional Manager Zhisheng Xiong said. “At this fair, we can target and meet upholstery fabric buyers and soft decoration design studios. We’ve started to see families in China use soft decorations more and even design studios when decorating their homes, so there’s strong potential in the market here.”

Domestic exhibitors pleased with quality of overseas buyers
Given the recent economic conditions in their traditional Western markets, Chinese exhibitors were pleased with the quality of overseas buyers. Zhejiang Hexin Textile, who has exhibited at the fair for 15 years, was one such company. “We’ve got new customers from Europe, the US and Latin America at the fair so we’re very pleased,” John Chen, the Local Business Department Manager said.

Kelida Holding Group, which exports jacquard sofa fabrics to Europe and the US, had a successful fair. “We got a very good response at the fair. Many international buyers visited our booth this year, and we’ve had a big increase in overseas orders in 2014,” Chairman Philip You explained. Zhejiang Hanboo Home Textile has been exhibiting at the fair since its very first edition, and reported that the market in Europe and the US has stabilised this year. “Our export orders have risen 30% so far in 2014,” the company’s Chairman Gaoming Wang said. “Further supporting this, we’ve received dozens of overseas buyers here today alone.”

Buyers impressed with fair’s constant improvement
Many buyers at this year’s fair were returning again after attending in the past, and commented about its constant improvement in many areas. “I was at the fair 10 years ago and it’s very international now. There is a lot of info about the market and trends here and I like the fair for that. It’s also very clear and well organised so it’s easy to find things,” Jean Somat, Executive Manager of Carre Blanc Distribution from France shared.

“Everything here is very, very good. There’s a lot of new technology on show here now too,” explained July Pingkardi from Indonesian company APHIK Design. “Every year there are always new things to see and it’s a good trigger to find out what’s new in the market. It’s a good place to find quality suppliers too; I met one here four to five years ago that I’m still using today. This year, I found everything I was looking for, and found some new suppliers too from whom I bought things.”

Jalal Omrani from Sidra Trading in the UAE was pleased with the domestic exhibitors’ quality. “The Chinese exhibitor quality here is good and has been increasing in recent years as well. I’ve been coming here many years and the fair has gotten much better; there really is a good collection of domestic exhibitors.” Li & Fung Trading Service’s Assistant Merchandise Manager Qiang Bai was impressed with the variety on offer. “I’ve been to this fair every year and I like it because there are so many suppliers here. There’s a huge variety and something for everyone no matter what you’re looking for.”

Big increase in design-related events beneficial for exhibitors and buyers
As the fair continues to evolve to meet the domestic market’s needs this year saw a greater emphasis on design-related events, particularly around educating local designers on interior trends. This included the first-ever ‘Design Comes Home’ crossover event with some of Europe’s premium editors and China’s leading interior designers. One of the editors, Unichina Distribution Ltd, exhibited four European brands at the fair and has participated for over 10 years. “The most special thing about the fair this year was the editor zone and holding the Design Comes Home event. This increased the interactive link between designers and buyers,” Textile Sales Director Jason Zhao commented. Ben Wu, from W+S Design Group was one of the designers that took part. “I got a lot of inspiration from cooperating with JAB Anstoetz,” he said.

‘Master Talks’ held by some of China’s preeminent designers were another highlight. “The fair is more complete with these Master Talks now, and it can help designers gain trend information and communicate with fellow designers,” Dai Kun from Easy-Home Interior Design commented. The fair’s trend forums also provided sought-after information to buyers. “The trend forums are extremely important for designers and the reason why we see more local designers coming here,” explained Cui Pingping, the Asian Design Director of Italy’s Concept & Style Fashion Project Group. “Chinese buyers have focused more on original designs in recent years thanks to the direction set by this fair.”

The next Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles – Autumn Edition will be held from 26 to 28 August 2015, and will take place at a brand-new venue: the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai).

Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles – Autumn Edition is organised by Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd; the Sub-Council of Textile Industry, CCPIT; and the China Home Textile Association (CHTA).

To find out more about this event and other upcoming home textile fairs, please visit: www.intertextilehome.com



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