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The mega trade fair for the consumer goods industry expands its global leadership position

30 Jan 2024

"Celebrating Business Together" was the motto of this year's mega trade fair for the global consumer goods industry, consisting of Ambiente, Christmasworld and Creativeworld. A festival of records: with an increase of ten percent, 4,928 exhibitors presented their new products on over 360,000 gross square metres. Despite a rail strike lasting several days, around 140,000 visitors from all branches of trade and sales channels were inspired by a wealth of trends and innovations at the biggest event in the history of Messe Frankfurt. As the most international networking and ordering platform, the industry's one-stop shop with over 170 participating countries and regions provided orientation, inspiration and solutions to current challenges in the market.

Trade fair visitors at Via Mobile
The trade fair trio of Ambiente, Christmasworld and Creativeworld is the global meeting place for the consumer goods industry. Photo: Messe Frankfurt/Jens Liebchen.

The trio of Frankfurt consumer goods fairs, consisting of Ambiente, Christmasworld and Creativeworld, impressively demonstrated that the entire global consumer goods industry was a guest at the fully booked Frankfurt exhibition grounds for five days. Even the rail strike could not dampen the success: "Mission accomplished! Together with around 5,000 exhibitors and participants from over 170 countries and regions, this top-class trade fair trio strengthens the consumer goods industry in uncertain times", summed up Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt.

The Frankfurt trade fair trio with international appeal has once again proven to be a leading event that provides orientation for retailers and manufacturers. "Once a year and only here in Frankfurt! The economy is under enormous pressure in the face of increasing global tensions. That's why personal encounters, new solutions, inspiration and the development of new export markets and sales channels such as Hospitality and the contract business are irreplaceable," emphasises Detlef Braun. Voices from the industry underline this: "Once again, the trade fair trio of Ambiente, Christmasworld and Creativeworld asserted its immense importance as the number one order platform for the German specialised trade. The retail trade's need for innovations, the chance to experience and order products in a personal encounter on site were the key factors that characterised the spirit of the trade fair. Retailers are entering the new year with a strong tailwind and many trade fair trends," summarises Christian Haeser, Managing Director of the German Home and Office Trade Association (HWB). Michael Berz, President of the German Culinary and Tableware Trade Association, adds with regard to Ambiente: "Like other specialised sectors, the industry for glass, ceramics and porcelain is facing challenges in a difficult economic environment. Ambiente is a strong and reliable partner for us here - especially now. With the expansion of the HoReCa area, the trade fair has consistently developed the dining segment. This opens up even more business opportunities for our members. Ambiente provides a lot of good, forward-looking impetus. That gives us hope."

Top marks for internationality, quality and quantity

In view of the new trade fair records, expectations were correspondingly high. These were more than fulfilled: Ambiente, Christmasworld and Creativeworld were characterised by new contacts with purchasing decision-makers, global business contacts and worldwide visitor flows. Internationality has increased: Three out of four trade visitors came to Frankfurt from abroad. With a five percent increase in international visitors compared to the previous year to a current 71 per cent, the mega trade fair topped the previous year's result. Germany spearheaded the list of visitor nations this year. Italy and China took second and third place in the top five visitor countries, followed by the Netherlands and the USA. Together, they once again emphasised the importance of the leading trade fairs as the world's most international event for the consumer goods industry. As expected, the 'flying-in foreign countries' were more strongly represented than visitor nations that, like France and the Alpine republics, travelled to the event by rail.

Leading companies such as Faber-Castell appreciate the international character of the industry platform. Jürgen Brückner, Managing Director International Sales of the Faber-Castell Group, explains with regard to Creativeworld as a meeting place for the hobby, craft and artists' supplies sector: "We are very satisfied with the course of the trade fair; the high customer frequency at the weekend and the quality of the discussions were particularly positive. Our expectations of being able to welcome not only distributors but also our global key accounts were fulfilled!"

The entire spectrum of the specialised retail trade was represented in Frankfurt. In addition, the three trade fairs attracted well-known major buyers, including Begros, Butlers, Dehner Gartencenter, Dirk Rossmann, dm Drogeriemarkt, Edeka, Fleurop, Globus, Hornbach, Metro and Obi from Germany. Major international buyers included Amazon, Anthropology, Carrefour International, Crate & Barrel, El Corte Ingles, Galleries Lafayette, Fortnum & Mason, Harrods, La Rinascente, Loft, Marks & Spencer, Migros, the Museum of Modern Art, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Walmart and Zara Home. Important distributors of hotel and catering supplies from all over the world and real estate developers such as Aurelis Real Estate, Deka Immobilien Investment and Lambert Smith Hampton were also in the halls, as were representatives of hotel groups such as Marriott Hotel Holding. The fact that the trade appreciates Ambiente, Christmasworld and Creativeworld as a successful platform is also substantiated by Messe Frankfurt's visitor survey. In terms of satisfaction with the range of exhibits, this year's trade fairs also surpassed last year's: 94 percent of visitors were satisfied with the quality and range of exhibitors compared to 93 percent last year.

Graphic figures Ambiente, Christmasworld and Creativeworld

One-stop shop with premieres, impulses, answers and solutions

Design, digitalisation in retail and production, lifestyle and sustainability, new work and future retail - the global themes of the industry were in the focus of the trade fairs. The supporting programme, restructured into themed days, was a valuable source of inspiration across all target groups. Lectures, special presentations, workshops and guided tours ran consistently through the five days of the trade fair and could be explored in greater depth on the themed days. With the new Designer Day, a networking event for designers, and the newly created Ambiente Designer title, which will be awarded annually in future, Ambiente is emphasising its global relevance as the quintessential meeting place for the design industry. The charismatic Milanese artist and product designer Elena Salmistraro kicked things off as the Ambiente Designer 2024 and presented her vision of a lounge at the thematic interface between design, HoReCa and contract business with her special show The Lounge - A Serious Game. With the newly introduced Hotelier’s Day, Ambiente is focussing on the hospitality industry and further developing the growth areas of Hospitality and Contract Business. This way, it opens up new business opportunities for industry participants aiming at commercial end consumers. Sustainability was and remains a meta topic of global importance, which the trade fair trio consistently highlighted in all product segments, in the fringe programme and in the overall special interest Ethical Style.

Peter Wüst, Managing Director of the Home Improvement, Building and Garden Trade Association (BHB), states: "The fully booked combination of Ambiente, Christmasworld and Creativeworld filled the entire exhibition centre in Frankfurt this year. A lucky chance for visitors: their stay at the fair will be more complex and, thanks to an extensive information programme on the themes of sustainability, lifestyle, design, new work, future retail and digital expansion of trade, even more attractive. At the same time, the trade fair group remains a real trend barometer for everyone involved with consumer goods." With regard to Christmasworld, Wüst explains: "DIY stores and garden centres are relevant sales points for customers for all topics relating to lifestyle, workstyle, Christmas and creative living in general. Moreover, the sales period before Christmas is becoming increasingly important for the industry, and so is Christmasworld - which is another reason why a visit to the Frankfurt exhibition halls is practically a must for the industry!" Ingmar Behrens agrees. The Secretary General of the German Council of Shopping Places e.V. explains: "At this year's Christmasworld, the importance of bricks-and-mortar retail is very clear. It is the many small details that create a harmonious overall picture, especially when designing large spaces and properties. Anyone who wants to set new impulses for the future could learn a lot here."

The future of New Work for diverse target groups

Lifestyle and workstyle are increasingly merging: What will the work of the future look like? The Future of Work area provided answers to this contemporary question: the curated special show presented solutions for modern working environments. This area not only gave new impetus to office furnishers, but also to many other target groups such as architects, planners and commercial end users such as hotels, the hospitality industry and providers of co-working spaces. "The past few years have led to a period of upheaval, which has also had an impact on interior design: the boundaries between living and working, creativity and formality, functionality and design are dissolving, which creates new design opportunities for us interior designers. The new Ambiente concept reflects this - category thinking is a thing of the past!" explains Carsten Wiewiorra, President of the Association of German Interior Designers (bdia). "With Future of Work, the trade fair is doing justice to planners who are looking for forward-looking, flexible and sustainable solutions."

In addition, the paper, office supplies and stationery brand industry showed suitable offers for commercial office supplies and technology with an expanded presence by three hall levels. "With this year's Ambiente, the international trade fair venue Frankfurt has proven that it is our industry platform. We once again have a trade fair venue for exchange between retailers and the industry, which is very important and we are very pleased about this," emphasised Rolf Schifferens, President of Durable.

Digital transformation - Messe Frankfurt as a driver

Another future-oriented focus was on digital transformation: in the Digital Retail presented by nmedia area, leading online retail players such as EK Retail, Kaufland and nmedia provided comprehensive and practical information on new digital services for bricks-and-mortar retail and online business. In this context, the special presentation DigitalMobil Handel in cooperation with the Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum Handel marked another premiere. Visitors were able to try out on site how the shopping experience can be enriched and personalised with the help of technological solutions. With a view to the future of retail and the importance of technological solutions, the President of the German Retail Association (HDE), Dr Alexander von Preen, emphasised: "The retail business model needs to be rethought. We need to set the course for this now, because we need to invest properly in the digital transformation."

Messe Frankfurt is moving forward in this direction as a partner to the sectors itself: at the start of the consumer goods fairs, it launched its new cross-event sector communication under the umbrella of Conzoom Circle. The company is thus linking all 30 consumer goods trade fairs and formats worldwide under one communicative umbrella and continuing to drive forward its strategy as a year-round business enabler. The network is aimed at all players in the global consumer goods market, both exhibitors and retailers. The aim is to provide orientation for the industry across countries and markets, to network all relevant industry players and to promote business.

NEW: Trade fair dates 2025

Ambiente, Christmasworld and Creativeworld will continue to take place at the same time at the Frankfurt exhibition centre. They will, however, be moved to the beginning of February to ensure that major global trade fair dates are aligned. In addition, the daily sequence of Creativeworld will be optimised in consultation with the industry. All three leading trade fairs will start on Friday. Creativeworld will continue to run for four days.

  • Ambiente/Christmasworld: 07 to 11 February 2025
  • Creativeworld: 07 to 10 February 2025

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