Gifts Today magazine

Shanghai show success

Interior Lifestyle China reaffirms its leading status during its 10th anniversary edition, which took place September 20-22

The 10th edition of Interior Lifestyle China took place last month, with another successful fair in terms of business opportunities confirmed by both exhibitors and buyers. 384 exhibitors from 14 countries and regions took part this year, while the number of visits was 21,420, with these buyers coming from 50 countries and regions. The fair took place on 22,000 square metres of gross exhibition space.

“Not only were we able to celebrate 10 years of Interior Lifestyle China at this edition, but also the success the fair has achieved in becoming the number one event in the Chinese interior lifestyle products market for the mid and high-end sectors over this time,” says Wendy Wen, Senior General Manager of Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltt.

“This fair is well established now as the ideal industry platform for international brands to do business in the Chinese market, as well as for local original design brands and designers to set up, develop their business and establish a presence in China’s high-end market, with many of them growing alongside the show in the last 10 years. The fair’s leading status has also attracted the cooperation of some of the best Chinese designers and lifestyle experts over the last decade, ensuring the fair’s relevance for the entire industry.”

A decade of excellence confirmed by long-standing exhibitors
In recognition of the contribution of the fair’s long-standing exhibitors, a number of them received Contribution Awards at a special 10-Year Anniversary celebration during the fair.

“These exhibitors have seen the Chinese market change over the last five to 10 years, and have witnessed the fair evolve alongside and develop with the domestic industry to ensure that it remains an effective platform for them to take advantage of these changes,” Wendy adds.

One such exhibitor was Kunshan Genesis Household Products from China, which represented mainly American brands at the fair. Mr Xiao Li, Sales Manager comments: “This fair is a reflection of the Chinese household products industry. We can see a lot of cutting-edge products at the fair every year, including those that will meet the market’s needs in the future.”

Wesco Asia Gainex of Germany also received a Contribution Award, with Regional Sales Manager Mr Karl Ho saying: “This show and its exhibitors are at the cutting edge, driving the entire Chinese household products industry. Compared to similar shows, this one is leading in terms of service and organisation, brand promotion and the quality of buyers.”

He was also pleased with the buyer profile this year. “There are many sourcing representatives from big companies which match our market positioning.”

Tayohya Corp from China have returned to the fair for many years as they are looking for a niche audience for their Japanese-Korean minimalism products, with Interior Lifestyle China being their preferred choice.

“We needed an influential platform to showcase our new image and trends, so we chose this fair,” Mr Yunxiang Shu, PR Manager explains. “We developed potential partnerships here this year, and there were so many visitors that our staff couldn’t even take a rest. We expect more orders and business opportunities to arise after the show.”

Other recipients of the award concurred. “The flow of visitors as well as the quality of visitors and exhibitors here are at a very high level,” says Lucy Zhang, Supply Chain Director of China’s United Home & Likuai.

“Over the three days a lot of buyers came to our booth, many of whom will become new clients. On the first day, for example, one-third confirmed partnerships with us.”

German company Fashy also received this award, and was pleased with their continued participation. “There are quality distributors and wholesalers coming here, so you can reach your target buyers at this fair. This is definitely the right platform to be at to target the Chinese market. And we haven’t felt any effect in terms of our target market slowing down; it’s evolving all the time and is constantly growing in size,” Mr Michael Preis, Head of Export, explained.

International exhibitors achieved success as overseas brands remain popular in China

“Chinese customers are definitely looking for quality products now, and they recognise European heritage so our brand is recognised here,” says Stefan Kersten, Sales Director, Retail & E-commerce of Dutch firm Brabantia, confirming that Chinese consumers’ appetite for Western brands shows no sign of slowing down.
“You do need to adapt to the Chinese market though,” he continues, “but this fair does help us learn about the market and consumer behaviour. Day one was really busy and day two was quite busy too; business is growing in China, he concluded as the fair opened on day three.”

Brabantia also participated in the fair’s promotional road show to China’s second-tier cities prior to the event, which Mr Kersten confirmed “was a good idea and was beneficial for us to participate in.”

British firm Portmeirion Group returned in 2016 after their successful debut at the fair last year. “Chinese buyers definitely appreciate overseas design and quality,” explains David Wheeldon, Export Sales Manager – Asia. “You get good exposure to department stores here, and it’s a good platform to expose your brands. The reaction this time has been even better than last year, and it’s much easier closing deals in this market than many of the others we operate in.”

His colleague, Carol Clyde, Head of Export Sales, continues: “We’ve had a lot of online sellers come to our booth that we want to work with, as well as independent retailers with anywhere from one store to 20 or 30, and department stores too. These buyers were mid-range and high-end. The key players and decision makers do come here, so we’re satisfied.”

Successful positioning of fair in mid and high-end sectors attracts quality buyers

Over the last 10 years, Interior Lifestyle China has successfully positioned itself as the leading trade event in the interior lifestyle products market targeting the mid and high-end sectors of the market.

“Compared to other trade fairs for consumer and retail goods, the positioning of this fair is more beneficial for us as it targets the mid and high-end household products market," says Cherry Zhu, Marketing Manager, Keiki China Distribution. “As a result, we have been more efficient in meeting our target audience and securing purchase orders from them.”

German glassware producer Leonardo/Glaskoch agreed, with Michelle Wong, General Manager of the company’s China branch, explaining: “We have been very satisfied with the flow and quality of the visitors. As a high-end European producer, participating in this fair is a success for us.”

Buyers praise fair as leading event in the domestic industry
Confirming what many exhibitors said, buyers at the fair commented on its leading status in the industry, as well as developments of the market. Mr Jerry Zhao, General Manager of Enjoy (Beijing) Intl Trading, came to the fair to purchase new domestic and foreign brand products.

“Chinese consumers’ demand for overseas products is relatively large now. The last two years have been a golden age for stylish household products in China. In the past, people used home products simply because they needed to. Nowadays, they are purchasing for lifestyle and quality reasons.” He also believes the fair was ideally positioned to meet these needs of the market. “This is why Interior Lifestyle China exists,” he continues. “The fair is a platform for consumers to understand the most creative and advanced products, and buyers with purchasing power and taste can put their faith in this show.”

Other buyers were impressed with the quality of the exhibitors as well as the high-end and innovative products. “I’m delighted by the fact that many products here are suitable for our company, and a lot of them are yet to be officially launched in the market,” Sa Xiao Fei, Leasing Manager, Shanghai Xintian Investment, commented. “This fair is at the forefront of the industry, leading its development,” he concluded. “Many exhibitors here target the mid-range and high-end of the market which matches our profile,” Mr Xin Nie, Development Manager – Kitchen & Home Dept, Xiamen Goldenhome, concurred. “At the moment, we are likely to cooperate with some of them.” Ms Joy Zhang, OEM Procurement Manager for Zhejiang Aishida Electric had a similar experience. “Our ASD brand of tableware is well known in China so we are looking for new products. Besides mid-range items, I can find a lot of advanced products as well as conceptual ideas here,” she says.

Buyers were very much inspired by the fair’s fringe programme as well. “I am very interested in the Culture meets Gourmet zone, and would like to work with Ms Wang Yang [one of the curators], whose project is appealing to me. I have attended this fair for the past few years, and can learn about changes in industry design styles by coming here,” Mr Shifeng Jin, Chairman of the Board, Shanghai Somang Cosmetics commented.

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