Ambiente (February 7-11 Frankfurt) acknowledges that it is the first leading international trade show to be affected by the impact of the coronavirus on travelling. The show was also affected by storm Ciara, with many flights and trains cancelled or disrupted due to the storm from Sunday onwards.
In total, around 108,000 buyers came to Ambiente from nearly 160 countries, compared with 136,081 trade visitors from 167 countries in 2019. Retailers from Germany and the UK (such as Dunelm and TK Maxx) were among those that banned buyers from traveling due to the coronavirus outbreak, influencing visitor numbers.
However, the UK remained in the top 5 for international visitor numbers after Germany (in 5th place, compared to 4th last year). After Germany, the highest numbers of visitors came from Italy, France, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK, Turkey, the United States, Russia, Japan and China (understandably slipping from 2nd place in 2019). This year saw growth in the numbers of visitors from Estonia, Japan, Jordan, Colombia, Romania and Turkey. Some 62% of visitors to Ambiente 2020 came from outside Germany.
Referring to the impact of both coronavirus and storm Ciara, Detlef Braun, member of the executive board of Ambiente organiser Messe Frankfurt commented: “If a trade fair is impacted by two such events, it really does face enormous challenges. But our exhibitors assessed the situation correctly. And the trade visitors came to Frankfurt with a positive mindset and keen to place orders.”
Despite the challenges, large numbers of orders were places at the show, which had grown to 4,635 exhibitors from 93 countries, covering 310,240 gross square metres.
Peter Dunne, md of CellarDine was typical of upbeat UK exhibitors who reported that “the quality of visitors was excellent,” with interest in the company’s innovative products from around the globe. Nick Cornwell, md of Black + Blum also commented on an excellent show for international business.
Fiskars’ Dianne Doolaard, trade and shopper marketeer for English & Crystal Living brands (including Waterford, Wedgwood, Royal Albert and Royal Doulton) also commented on the positive experience at the show:“We met a large number of relevant customers from the entire world and we leveraged Ambiente’s international reach to present four brands of the Fiskars Group, including our new Olio collection. We received highly positive responses to both our stand and our new products.”
Phil Atherton, sales and marketing director of Portmeirion Group stated: “The coronavirus didn’t seem to affect us at all. We had back to back appointments at the show, with a lot of people walking onto the stand, and good quality buyers.”
Continued Phil: “They were not at the show to browse, they were there to buy and place orders, and we opened a lot of new international accounts. We had companies on the stand from countries such as Mongolia through to China, Tibet and Uzbekistan.”
Satisfaction ratings among visitors continuing to be at a robust level of 95%, confirmed Messe Frankfurt.
* Ambiente 2021 takes place from February 19-23.
Top: A view of the Dining sector at Ambiente 2020.