HONG KONG –(ASIA TODAY)–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,” Ms Wendy Wen, Senior General Manager of Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, commented. “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,” Ms Wen continued. One such exhibitor was Kunshan Genesis Household Products from China, which represented mainly American brands at the fair. Mr Xiao Li, Sales Manager commented: “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.”
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,” Ms Lucy Zhang, Supply Chain Director of China’s United Home & Likuai, said. “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,” Mr Stefan Kersten, Sales Director, Retail & E-commerce of Dutch firm Brabantia opined, 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 continued, “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.”
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,” Ms Cherry Zhu, Marketing Manager, Keiki China Distribution, said. “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 Ms 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 believed the fair was ideally positioned to meet these needs of the market. “This is why Interior Lifestyle China exists,” he continued. “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.”
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.
New fringe programme events drive more target buyers to exhibitors’ booths
The fair’s fringe programme included new features this edition to ensure its relevance to the industry, including The Way of Life 10th anniversary exhibition, Culture Meet Gourmet theme display area, On Design Show and TMall Global Celebration of Houseware zone. The latter was organised by e-commerce giant the Alibaba Group, and featured a number of different zones and activities throughout the three days, including one involving Martha Stewart. Ms Stewart was at Interior Lifestyle China as part of a new partnership between Sequential Brands and Alibaba – which used the fair to kick off their cooperation together – and gave a keynote address which was live-streamed on Alibaba’s media network.
While the fringe programme is an opportunity for buyers to discover the latest trends and designs, lifestyle concepts and products, it also benefits exhibitors either through their direct involvement or by attracting more of their target buyers to the fair. FBRX Intl Trade from China encapsulated this perfectly. “We have seen an enormous increase in customers visiting our booth this year for two reasons,” Mr Yang Xuejun, Deputy GM, began. “First, the increased promotion of the fair this year, and second, the inclusion of the TMall Global Celebration of Houseware and the Culture meets Gourmet zones, all of which has attracted more visitors and enhanced their experience at the fair. I’ve also been impressed with the quality of buyers too. They’ve been mostly decision-makers of high-end shopping malls and distributors, and all of them have expressed interest in doing business with us.”
Some of China’s top interior designers also participate in the fringe programme each year, including Mr Alan Chan, who has worked in the creative sector for more than 45 years, and was the curator of the 10th anniversary display area and The Way of Life forum. “The fair offers new insights and conversations about Chinese lifestyle and aesthetics, not only to industry professionals but consumers in China also. As China is playing a more important role in the global economy and creative arena, I believe this fair opens new doors to infinite possibilities of design and lifestyle, promoting the true beauty and power of Chinese creativity to be more recognised worldwide,” he said. Mr Guangci Qu, Design Director of X+Q Art Showroom, was another industry leader to be involved in the fair this year. “I feel the positioning of the fair and the issues it addresses are very innovative and international. Here I can interact with many industry players,” he said.
Another feature of the fringe programme appreciated by exhibitors was the Home Style Award by iF, which for the second year was held jointly with iF DESIGN ASIA Ltd. Enabling participants to increase their profile in the Chinese and Asian markets, this year’s Home Style Gold Award winners were Taste Plus Cookware, Sweets Family, RELATIVE.s, Life & Living Intl Ltd, Ye Min Creative Furnishing and Duravit AG.
Return to Shanghai Exhibition Center in 2017 enthuses exhibitors
Next year sees Interior Lifestyle China return to the Shanghai Exhibition Center, which the fair was previously held in until 2012. “In keeping with the fair’s high-end image, we will return to this more intimate venue that has an ambience matching the fair’s design and lifestyle focus,” Ms Wen explained. Exhibitors were also enthusiastic about the relocation. “The new venue will lift the image of the fair, and give it a boost in terms of business next year,” Mr Preis of Fashy commented.
Interior Lifestyle China 2016 was organised by Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co Ltd. Next year’s edition will be held from 14 – 16 September 2017 at the Shanghai Exhibition Center. For more information about the fair, please visit http://ift.tt/26VmK6H.
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