Fresh wind in the sails of the global floor coverings industry
- Substantial growth in number of exhibitors and size of exhibition
- More international mix of exhibitors and attendees
- Fresh impetus from Innovations@DOMOTEX and the Young Designer Trendtable
After four action-packed days, DOMOTEX 2017 drew to a close, chalking up considerable growth in terms of its exhibitor lineup and the total amount of space booked, and with an even higher percentage of exhibitors and visitors from abroad. A total of 1,409 exhibitors from more than 60 countries showcased their latest innovations to a global audience at the Hannover Exhibition Center, once again impressively highlighting the innovative spirit and high performance capability of the floor coverings industry. "Thanks to its strong exhibitor lineup, myriad innovations and unparalleled international scope and reach, DOMOTEX has impressively underscored its reputation as the international floor covering industry's leading marketplace and showcase for innovations. Our exhibitors were particularly pleased with the high caliber of the international audience they encountered here, while the show's visitors, for their part, responded enthusiastically to the globally unrivalled array of offerings at DOMOTEX," remarked Dr. Andreas Gruchow, the Deutsche Messe Managing Board member in charge of DOMOTEX, on the last day of the show. "Innovations@DOMOTEX and the new Young Designer Trendtable, in particular, delivered a great deal of valuable inspiration and highlighted DOMOTEX as a place that puts innovations on center stage."
Attendance was on a par with the last comparable DOMOTEX, staged in 2015. Around 70 percent of visitors were from abroad, with the majority (43 percent) coming from EU countries. There was a considerable increase in visitors from the Near and Middle East (up 9 percent) as well as East and Central Asia (up 16 percent). Appreciably more visitors came from the U.S. and the United Kingdom, in particular.
For anyone keen on doing international business, Hannover was clearly the place to be. "DOMOTEX is our No. 1 event. Here in Hannover we can show off our products to a truly global audience. DOMOTEX was more attractive than ever, and we are very content with the run of the show. We had considerably more talks with high-caliber decision-makers from abroad. And visitors spent much more time at our stand to get informed about our offerings. The number of contacts from creative backgrounds was also notably higher. DOMOTEX is steadily becoming less of a product showcase and more of an inspirational looking glass for trends in the making," remarked Piet Lievevrouw, General Manager of the Beaulieu International Group.
Jan Vergote, CEO of the IVC Group based in Avelgem, Belgium, had this to say: "In 2017 more than ever, DOMOTEX is serving us the best place in the world at which to unveil our latest innovations. As a world first, here in Hannover we unveiled our revolutionary hyperrealistic vinyl flooring to an international audience. We are already looking forward to next year's DOMOTEX, where we plan to mount an even bigger showcase and feature even more products from our comprehensive range."
Piet Dossche, CEO at USFloors (COREtec) based in Dalton, George, USA, expressed similar praise for the show: "DOMOTEX is a very important trade fair for USFloors as the makers of COREtec. Last year we used DOMOTEX for the European launch of COREtec, and that was a tremendous success. This year we are unveiling a total of 29 new designs at DOMOTEX, and they have been meeting with a very good initial response here in Hannover. Visiting professionals are showing keen interest in our new colors. We are also amazed at the huge media interest we have experienced at our stand, which is twice as big as last year's."
Professionals of even higher caliber in attendance
Another outstanding feature of the event was the high percentage of attending professionals and decision-makers (91 percent). Attendance by members of the skilled trades – especially layers of parquet and other flooring – was up by 15 to 20 percent, and the numbers for visiting wholesale professionals rose accordingly. Around 90 percent of the show's attendees were decision-makers who came to the show with firm purchasing intent. Not only that, but DOMOTEX also attracted more information-seeking interior designers, contract business professionals and decorators.
With a wide array of creative ideas, innovative materials and smart solutions on show in 2017, the industry once again demonstrated just how attractive floor coverings can be. The latest trends revealed a strong focus on sustainability and natural-looking designs. There is strong demand for eco-friendly designer products, as well as for laminate and designer flooring with surfaces of such deceptively natural appearance that they can hardly be discerned from real wood. In the case of wood flooring, "used" and grainy patterns and finishes are in, and the resulting products delight customers in an inexhaustible array of different colors, shapes and formats. Herringbone patterns are also back in vogue. Carpeting in the form of tiles and planks continues to gain in popularity. In terms of color, carpets in subdued sand and stone hues are trending, as are vibrant colors and sophisticated patterns. Innovative floor laying systems are creating opportunities for simple, flexible and environmentally friendly application techniques.
Innovations@DOMOTEX once again a crowd-puller
Among the highlights at this year's event were the popular Innovations@DOMOTEX areas in halls 6, 9 and 17, where center stage belonged to a host of outstanding new products and fresh approaches in textile and resilient floor coverings, parquet and laminate flooring as well as contemporary hand-made rugs. This special showcase gave visitors a valuable source of inspiration and orientation, and a concise way of discovering all the latest products and trends.
Participants in the DOMOTEX Guided Tours were taken by expert guides to see selected products and ideas as highlighted by exhibitors at their stands. The Innovations@DOMOTEX Talks featured international stars of the scene, including the renowned Alfredo Häberli and designers from Büro Caramel (Vienna), Sauerbruch Hutton (Berlin), Peter Haimerl. Architektur (Munich), and Plajer & Franz Studio (Berlin). In a rich series of discussions, lectures and special tours, the experts explored topics such as how to design "people-friendlier" living spaces, how to meet tomorrow's flooring needs, and what the best environments are for service providers, as well as how optimizing spaces can set new benchmarks in interior design.
Visions for the floor coverings of tomorrow
Apart from showcasing trends for the upcoming season, DOMOTEX also offered an exciting look at the future of floor design. The new Young Designer Trendtable gave up-and-coming designers from five European countries the chance to formulate and present their visions for the flooring of tomorrow. With individually designed spaces, these talented creators brought their visions to life in a brand-new kind of showcase. They showed how traditional skills can contribute to modern manufacturing processes, how materials such as marble and stone can be used in unusual ways, how hard and soft materials can be combined to great effect, and how temporarily used rooms can be approached from a fresh angle. This made the Young Designer Trendtable a major attraction, not only for visiting professionals, but also for exhibitors in search of inspiration. "Formats such as the Young Designer Trendtable open up new perspectives at DOMOTEX. I am amazed at the diversity on display here, ranging from handcrafted one-off pieces to products manufactured on an industrial scale," commented Alfredo Häberli during the show.
In Hall 17, innovative designers such as Creative Matters, Hossein Rezvani, Rug Art, Rug Star Wool & Silk Rugs and Zollanvari presented their sumptuous hand-made carpet creations, setting new standards and pointing the way to future trends. The Carpet Design Awards were presented for the world's finest designer carpets and rugs. Offered for the twelfth time at this year's DOMOTEX, this international award is considered the "Oscar" of avant-garde carpets.
Major enhancements to take shape in DOMOTEX 2018
DOMOTEX is gearing up to be more attractive than ever, with a host of major enhancements to go live in 2018. The changes are in response to market shifts and changing requirements, and will also help improve the flow of visitor traffic. This involves changes to the physical layout of the exhibition in an effort to make it more transparent for trade visitors and provide a clearer overview of the market as a whole. Product categories will be restructured as well. And each year there will be a new keynote theme to place even stronger emphasis on trends and innovations. The keynote theme for DOMOTEX 2018 is "Unique Youniverse", revolving around the sweeping trend towards individualization. The keynote theme will be specially framed in a highly immersive, multi-faceted set of environments in Hall 9 aimed at giving visitors a central magnet and a rich source of inspiration. Brand- and lifestyle-oriented firms will be contributing to this brand-new showcase.
As of 2018, DOMOTEX will run from Friday to Monday rather than from Saturday to Tuesday as in the past. The DOMOTEX will be staged from 12 to 15 January 2018.