February’s Ambiente fair attracted slightly fewer visitors than last year’s record number, but still 5% more than in 2010.
The Frankfurt show saw 140,000 people come through the doors, compared with almost 145,000 in 2011, but while the number of international visitors remained stable there was increased attendance from the expanding markets of Eastern Europe as well as from Russia, the US and Japan. The top five visitor nations were Italy, France, the US, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
The number of exhibitors was up – 4,543 from 87 countries compared with 4,442 from 85 countries last year – and there was an increased presence of small appliance suppliers.
In the kitchenware and tabletop areas, exhibitors put a greater emphasis on product quality and brands.
“Today, you have to present yourself as a brand name to the consumers and you need to be perceived as a brand name,” commented Leifheit AG chairman Georg Thaller.
And Oliver Zeroni, managing director of Le Creuset GmbH, expressed a similar view. “There’s a perceptible willingness among the final consumers to invest money in quality and certain themes,” he said.
In kitchenware, high levels of functionality and greater energy efficiency are proving to be important selling points too, and exhibitors in the sector showed that colour is still a key factor. Kitchen knives and gadgets could be seen in red, yellow, green, purple and orange, while cookware came in all shades from berry to light blue. In plastic kitchenware and household products, along with lime green, orange, red and yellow, purple is now making inroads, while at the upper end a mud shade is making an appearance to accompany more intense colours.
There is also increasing use of colour for ceramics, and floral decor and natural motifs are the preferred looks for tableware, which has taken on an almost rustic appearance. Said Lesley Go of Iittala: “Colours are becoming more and more important, and consumers are becoming ever more daring in this respect. The main theme is the farm or a rediscovery of tradition in all its possible facets. We call it Modern Traditional.”
Intense colours could be seen in decorative glass products too: for the summer the focus is on shades of green, orange and blue.
Show visitors also found products made of new materials complementing classic ceramics: for example, bowls made of sustainable materials such as bamboo, cork and resin, but all dishwasher-safe.
Next year’s Ambiente takes place in Frankfurt from February 15 to 19.
Image: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH/Petra Welzel