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A fair of superlatives: Christmasworld 2018 with more visitors, significantly more international trade buyers and great satisfaction all round

Feb 9, 2018

Christmasworld 2018 – Floradecora in its heart – was an enormous source of inspiration for both manufacturers and retailers. The leading international trade fair for seasonal and festive decoration closed its doors with an increase in the number of visitors, a higher level of internationality and top marks in the exhibitor and visitor polls.

Woman with roses Roses in hand stands in front of a wall full of red roses (Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH, Pietro Sutera)
Christmasworld 2018 finished with an increase in the number of visitors and gave the trade decoration ideas with a WOW effect. Photo: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH, Pietro Sutera

3,023 exhibitors from 69 countries and around 87,000 trade visitors made a successful start to the new business season at this year’s Christmasworld, Paperworld and Creativeworld consumer-goods fairs, and at the Floradecora floral market place. At Christmasworld and Floradecora, 1,047 exhibitors from 43 countries (234 from Germany and 813 from abroad) presented their product innovations and fresh sales concepts for festive and seasonal decorations, as well as fresh flowers and plants. A total of 43,450 visitors from 129 countries (16,110 from Germany and 27,340 from abroad) made their way to Frankfurt to discover the latest trends and top themes, and to boost their business. This represents a slight increase of 0.5 percent in the number of visitors compared to last year[1].

In terms of visitors from outside Germany, however, the increase amounted to seven percent with no less than 19 new countries represented. “The further increase in visitor numbers and the higher level of internationality confirm that the world market is at home at Christmasworld in Frankfurt am Main. This completely underscores its role and power of attraction as the world’s leading trade fair for seasonal and festive decorations”, said Julia Uherek, Group Show Director Consumer Goods Fairs, Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH. On the visitor side, the level of internationality rose from 59 to 63 percent while remaining stable on the exhibitor side at a very high level of 78 percent. After Germany, the top European visitor nations were Italy, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Poland. Large increases were also noted, for example, from the USA, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, China, the Ukraine and Turkey.

The high level of internationality was given a very warm welcome by the exhibitors: “Christmasworld is the most important fair in the year for us. We are extremely pleased because we have a very international audience here. Americans, Australians, South Americans, Russians, lots of Italians, and customers from all over Europe come here. The atmosphere in the trade is very positive; people are keen to order. Many order more than before”, confirmed Weihnachtsland CEO Helmut Schmidt.

Meeting place for the ‘best of the sector’

All sales channels – from the classic retail trade, the wholesale trade and the import/export trades to the mail-order and online trades – were represented. Many exhibitors emphasised the high visitor standard with numerous purchasing decision makers, three quarters of whom are executives or come from the top managerial echelon. “The 'best of the sector' come to Frankfurt. We meet highly trend- and design-oriented buyers here, who are looking for something special and beautiful for their high-quality ranges”, said Floradecora exhibitor Jan de Boer, Barendsen. Confirming this, Klaus Müller-Blech, Inge´s Christmas Décor, said, “We had a large number of visitors, particularly from the international sector - mainly from southern and eastern Europe. Visitor quality at Christmasworld is outstanding and business couldn’t be better.” Underscoring this, proprietor Werner Voss said, “We have a great many customers and orders. We are growing year on year. We will achieve a plus again this year. This is the most attractive fair for us by a long run. Highly competent specialist and bulk buyers come to Frankfurt.” Thomas Tykesson, CEO of Gnosjö Konstsmide, seconded these opinions saying, “It’s a fantastic fair. It’s very important for us. We have been coming here for 35 years now and have increased the size of our stand from 20 to 600 square metres. We are always very successful. The visitors are top quality and we are able to grow further at a high level.”

The most attractive, the best, the most successful and the most international – this year’s Christmasworld was described by many exhibitors in superlatives. This positive echo shows that Frankfurt is not only the international market place for innovations but also an indispensable business platform for the exchange of ideas and information on a personal level. Summarising, Thomas Grothkopp, German Home and Office Association (Bundesverband Wohnen and Büro e.V. – BWB), said, “There is no place in Europe other than Christmasworld where you can experience the latest trends of the season in such a compact and up-to-date space. The visit to Frankfurt is the most important date in the calendar for German and central European retailers. Additionally, Paperworld offers not only a huge spectrum of different products but also a high degree of internationality. The specialist trade benefits from this and from the range of products to be found at the concurrent Creativeworld.

High degree of satisfaction among both trade visitors and exhibitors

The results of the visitor poll confirm that the spectrum covered is exactly right: 96 percent of visitors said they are satisfied or even very satisfied with the range of products and manufacturers, as well as with the overall course of business, and that they had achieved their goals for the fair. The greatest trade-visitor interest was shown in Christmas decorations (64 percent) followed by seasonal decorations (38 percent) and seasonal gifts (29 percent). This year, Christmas Volume & Sourcing moved up to fourth place (27 percent) followed by candles (26 percent), florists’ requisites & garden decorations (23 percent), visual merchandising & lighting (23 percent) and gift-wrapping materials (22 percent).

The exhibitors rated the order behaviour during the fair and the degree to which they reached their visitor target groups higher than the year before by one percentage point. Edelman CEO Ronald van Veen also described the fair has having been extremely good: “We are seeing an increase in orders and will leave the fair with significant business growth.” The visitor standard and the number of new contacts continue to be high. Three quarters of exhibitors are satisfied or extremely satisfied with the fair. “The internationality is phenomenal, and the quality of the buyers has risen again dramatically. Important orders for the forthcoming Christmas season are placed here. All those who are active in the living, giving and decorations segments need to be here. The fair plays a fundamental role in our market structure, because Christmas comes around again and again“, said Hamid Yazdtschi, CEO of Gilde Gruppe.

Floradecora benefits from new location in Galleria 1

With real greenery and brilliant flowers, Floradecora in the heart of Christmasworld offered trade buyers a fresh addition to seasonal decorations that can easily be integrated into almost any assortment. The highlight was a display of 40,000 red roses, which attracted no less attention than the lisianthus, orchids, cacti and grasses, which also offer a fresh potential for sales in the retail trade. “We are pleased to be a part of Floradecora. With its fresh flowers and plants, it’s the right add-on to Christmasworld. With our sea of roses, we wanted to help the visitors discover the enormous potential of fresh decorations and make them feel more comfortable using them”, said Örjan Hulshof, Sales & Marketing Manager, De Ruiter.

At Floradecora, exhibitors rated order behaviour during the fair, the visitor standard and the extent to which visitor target groups were reached as being significantly higher than at last year’s première. “The visitor standard is high. They include florists, trend watchers, a few DIY stores and people who work in event marketing, such as wedding planners, and a large number of retailers”, said Auke Heins, Portfolio Manager, Trade Fairs & Events, Royal Flora Holland. Jan de Boer, CEO of Barendsen added, “We have been at Floradecora since it started, and we are extremely pleased. The concept of Floradecora within Christmasworld completely works for us; it provides the buyers with quick orientation. There were visitors from Japan, China, Germany, France and Spain on our stand, as well as many Italians, and visitors from Canada, Ireland and Bulgaria.”

The new location in Galleria 1 had a direct impact on the higher rating. “We have many more visitors here in the Galleria. We had very many visitors during the first hour on Friday”, said Rokus Hassefras, Marketing Manager Dümmen Orange. Peter Botz, Director of the Association of German Garden Centres (Verband Deutscher Garten-Center e.V.) also took a positive view: “We feel very much at home in the light-flooded hall. The new location at the centre of Christmasworld is perfect. The very lavish and inviting design of the stairs draws buyers directly into Floradecora and provides a wow factor. All our members are present, and they are impressed by the abundance of flowers.”

At Floradecora, the greatest areas of buyer interest were cut flowers (69 percent), decoration green (43 percent), plants for the balcony and terrace (37 percent), indoor plants (33 percent) and bulbs (24 percent). In this case, too, a large percentage of visitors (89 percent) said that they had achieved their goals for the fair. Altogether, more than 10,200 visitors from the Christmasworld, Paperworld and Creativeworld trade fairs visited Floradecora for business reasons on the five days, about the same number as the previous year.

Fresh impulses for the trade

The extensive range of products and the overview of the latest trends make buyers from all over the world fit for the coming season. The most important sources of inspiration and impulses for assortment compilation were the Christmasworld Trend Show by Stilbüro bora.herke.palmisano and ‘The Loft’ special show by 2 Dezign, which encouraged visitors to consider new decoration ideas and, therefore, new ways of reaching customers.

The driving forces in the conventional trade are emotional experiential worlds with lighting and decorations. And this is the focus of the Premium business programme. “Particular praise was reserved for the target-group oriented approach of the three focus days. Thus, we were able to spotlight future-looking subjects in the fields of commercial real estate, shopping centres, urban marketing and municipalities, as well as shop fitting and retail. The workshop character with renowned keynote speakers and the guided tours of the fair greatly intensified the networking process within the sector”, said Christmasworld Director Eva Olbrich, Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH.

Convenience offers that make shopping as easy and entertaining as possible for consumers continue to trend. Also much in demand were culinary specialities, which were given a very good welcome in the new Christmas Delights product segment. “We came here with low expectations and regarded the fair as a networking opportunity. We didn’t expect to sell so much straightaway. We are totally impressed at how international the audience is here”, said Susanne Kaumanns of Tafelgut.

New Christmas and floral trends

If there was any one dominant theme at this year’s Christmasworld, it was the botanical world: plants, leaves, cacti and beetles are very much the trend. This finds expression in high-end designs and materials in particular. And, at the same time, there is a concentration on colours such as dark blues and greens with gold accents. In a similar vein, Christmas and seasonal decorations are also heavily inspired by nature and the animal world. Peacocks, marine animals and jungle motifs are everywhere at Christmasworld. As a result, jellyfish, sea-horses, coral fish and mussels will, in future, be hanging on the Christmas tree. Alongside these, woodland animals coated with glitter, together with llamas and alpacas provide some surprises. Inspired by folklore, craftsman-made, artificially aged or decorated with glitz and sparkle, all kinds of lovingly crafted decorative items in authentic materials, such as wood, glass and linen, transport us into a live and gleaming Christmas wonderland.

And festive decorations are complemented by natural greenery. Long-stemmed red roses, bound into sumptuous bouquets or set among luxuriant flower arrangements, send a message of the best quality that consumer goods can have: the giving of pleasure. Flowers and plants awaken the emotions and, with their multitude of colours and shapes, bring glamour to all and any festive decorations. One trend is for amusing ‘convenience products’ such as ‘Swampworld’, a flesh-eating plant in a bulbous jar or the ‘Liv in Wax’, a ZZ plant with bare, waxed roots that looks very exotic and is completely trouble-free to care for.

Best Christmas City Award honours unique city marketing concepts

As part of the town and city marketing theme day in the Premium Business Programme, the winners of the Best Christmas City Award selected by the panel of specialist adjudicators were announced, together with this year’s winner chosen by the public: Waldbreitbach in Rhineland-Palatinate takes first prize in the small town category, Esslingen am Neckar in Baden-Wurttemberg in the medium-sized town category, and first prize in the city category goes to Regensburg in Bavaria. This year, both winners and nominees will enjoy a high-quality town-decoration feature for next season, made available by Christmasworld exhibitor MK Illumination.

“Not just three, but nine towns will be winners. And this will improve their chances of becoming ‘Best Christmas City’ next time round. Our individually tailored lighting concepts, will bring joyful moments to these towns – and with them lots of people,” says Karl-Heinz König, Head of Business Development, Germany at MK Illumination. Herborn in Hesse wins the public’s prize and receives a ‘Christmas market check’ from the GMA market research organisation (Gesellschaft für Markt- und Absatzforschung).

Altogether, 35 towns and cities took part in the fourth competition of its kind, organised by Christmasworld, the German Association of Town and City Marketing (Bundesvereinigung City- und Stadtmarketing Deutschland e. V.) and the professional journal ‘Public Marketing’. “Next year we shall be focussing on participatory action with a social slant and cultural events, which bring more vitality to the retail trade,” the association’s General Manager, Jürgen Block, promised.

Next year, as in previous years, the consumer-goods fairs will take place around the last Saturday in January:

  • Christmasworld / Floradecora: 25 - 29 January 2019
  • Paperworld and Creativeworld: 26 – 29 January 2019


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[1] Figures for 2017 FKM certified (Society for the Voluntary Control of Fair and Exhibition Statistics (Gesellschaft zur freiwilligen Kontrolle von Messe- und Ausstellungszahlen – FKM), Berlin): 1,061 exhibitors from 42 countries – 229 from German / 832 from abroad, 43,233 visitors from 110 countries – 17.690 from Germany / 25,543 from abroad (including Floradecora)

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