Bright blue skies welcomed exhibitors and visitors to the opening of Interior Lifestyle China 2017 on 14 September, and the positivity about the fair’s results over the following three days matched the weather outside. Not only were the larger exhibitor and visitor numbers a reflection of the fair’s success and general optimism about the Chinese consumer goods market, but the overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants also affirmed Interior Lifestyle China as the leading international event in China for the mid to high-end consumer goods market.
In total 23,108 visitors from 44 countries and regions made their way to the fair this year, a nearly eight percent rise compared to 2016 (21,420). On the exhibitor side, 395 companies from 19 countries and regions took part – a nearly three percent increase on last year (384) – of which 102 of these were international brands.
Speaking after the fair concluded, Ms Wendy Wen, Senior General Manager expressed what makes Interior Lifestyle China the must-attend event for mid to high-end brands. “While the increase in this year’s visitor figure is pleasing, and a validation that our return to the Shanghai Exhibition Center was the correct one, what is most important to us was the continuing increase in the quality of buyers, as confirmed by our exhibitors. This firmly places Interior Lifestyle China as the most effective trade event in China for the mid to high-end of the consumer goods market, especially for overseas brands that are looking to enter the Chinese market.”
Exhibitors and visitors also confirmed a number of trends continuing or developing in the Chinese market. One was that the demand for overseas brands remains strong in the country. But what was noticeable this year, was that not only is the brand’s origin important to Chinese consumers, but also that the product is made in the respective country. Also noticeable to participants was the prevalence of buyers from online retailers and platforms at the fair this edition, a result of both the industry trend and the organiser’s increased recruiting of such buyers.
Rosario Catalano, Export Manager, Felix Solingen GmbH, Germany
“The quality of the buyers here is high. The contacts we made all sounded interested in our products, and were asking the right questions. Many of them were retailers with 10 or 20 stores too, so the potential is high. Chinese buyers are very interested in the German brand. It’s very important to show them that our products are made in Germany, as customers in China are looking for German-made products.”
Michael Preis, Head of Export, Fashy GmbH, Germany
“We’re looking for new distributors and agents and we've been able to find these this edition. The quality of the buyers absolutely matches what we’re looking for, and it’s got better this year – this is why we come back each year. Since we’ve been in the China market, every year our sales have doubled, and this is still the case. Definitely the German brand is popular here, but it’s not just the brand but being made there that is the key in this market. This is what buyers are really looking for now.”
Lars Friis Nielsen, Vice President China Sales, Aida a/s, Denmark
“This fair is better than others in Shanghai as you get proper trade buyers here. Scandinavian design as a whole is popular in China, and there is a positive image for Danish products here too. So we’re definitely optimistic about the future potential in the Chinese market. We’ve already booked for next year!”
Kathrine Gran Hartvigsen, Creative Director, AYTM, Denmark
“There are more of our target buyers here, so this fair is better for us than other fairs in Shanghai. The quality of the buyers here is high, and it matches our high-end products. The venue is perfect too, it fits with the style of our products and makes them stand out. The media tour that came to our booth was really useful as it included all the Chinese editions of the big international media that we want to be in.”
Amos Dong, Development Manager, Brabantia, the Netherlands
“We’ve had a lot of buyers visit our booth. The quality of these buyers has been good too. Importantly, a lot of these have been new buyers too. We’ve just started in the China market, so this fair is very important for us. There are a lot more buyers from online retailers and platforms here this year too. We’re on Tmall and JD.com so it’s important for us that these type of buyers are at the fair.”
Susie Chen, Business Development Director, De Lai Pin, China
“Given De Lai Pin’s focus on Made-in-Germany products, Interior Lifestyle China is an important fair for us in China. The burgeoning middle class of China has sophisticated consumer demands, and is constantly looking for quality products imported from overseas, especially Germany. This fair is a great platform to meet potential business partners with whom to work together to meet these ever growing consumer demands.”
Michelle Wong, General Manager, Leonardo China, Germany
“We’ve had many professional buyers from shopping malls visit our booth, as well as agents who intend to introduce our products to their department store clients. Most of the visitors are from the high end of the market, so we have a great chance to launch further cooperation with them.”
Mr Alex Guo, General Manager, Dalian Chenrui Trading, China (distributor of Finnish brand Muurla)
“The customer flow has been huge, and was beyond our expectations! We had discussions with several large online sales platforms such JD.com and Kaola, while there were also a number of shopping malls interested in cooperating with us. We will certainly come again next year.”
Wendy Zhao, Marketing Manager, Living Kitchen, China
“Interior Lifestyle China is aimed at the high-end household market, which is suitable for the brands we have such as Smeg, Wesco and Blendtec. This fair is the optimum platform for us to do our promotion every year.”
Mr Xiao Li, Sales Manager E-commerce, Kunshan Genesis Household Products, China
“We are very satisfied with the fair’s outcomes. This year, moving back to this venue has increased the quality and professionalism of the visitors. We met a lot of new customers from department stores and supermarkets, as well as e-commerce businesses who placed large orders with us.”
More than just products: fair’s fringe programme inspires and educates the industry
Interior Lifestyle China is also a gathering place for the industry to come together to gain inspiration and stay ahead of the latest trends. This includes some of China’s preeminent designers, such as Ben Wu, Founder of W. Design & W+S Design Group who shared his expertise in a panel discussion. He commented on the fair’s value to the industry: “Interior Lifestyle China has been improving each year. It focuses more on products that are used in daily life, and emphasises the functions and details of these products which match the tastes of Chinese people.” This year’s fringe programme was strongly influenced by the fair’s theme – Retail 4.0 – with a number of events and zones focusing in particular on the customer experience with regard to the retail space, and the way consumers now shop online and offline.
“Stunning” venue proves a hit as it adds to high-end image of fair
Exhibitors unanimously complemented the return to the Shanghai Exhibition Center, an iconic building in the centre of the city. “We really like being in this venue – our classic-style products fit perfectly with the image of the building,” Christian Fritzsche, Feingerätebau K. Fischer, Germany commented. “This venue is very famous in Shanghai so it attracts more buyers,” explained Sally Fang of Rosenthal. “The venue is stunning!” Diana Thomke from AMT Alumetall Giesstechnik of Germany exclaimed.
The next edition will take place from 13 – 15 September 2018, once again at the Shanghai Exhibition Center.
Interior Lifestyle China is organised by Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co Ltd. For more information about the fair, please visit: http://interior-lifestyle-china.hk.messefrankfurt.com Pictures from the fair can be downloaded here: http://www.hk.messefrankfurt.com/hongkong/en/media/consumer-goods/interior_lifestyle_china/media.html
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