2004 Apr Issue

Cover Story
JDA celebrates 10 years in Asia
Other Stories
Retail Asia-Pacific Top 500: Messages
Mainland retailers out to establish foothold in Hong Kong
2004 FMI Show zeros in on growth solutions
Ambient 2004 reveals interest towards gifts, young and trendy products


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Ambiente 2004 reveals interest towards gifts, young and trendy products

The International Frankfurt Fair, Ambiente 2004, broke a new record in the number of trade visitors. The world’s largest consumer-goods fair, held in Frankfurt am Main from 20-24 February, saw buyer registration increase by 2% to 142,000.

With 5,827 participants, including 1,404 retailers from 52 countries, the ninth edition of MAPIC — the International Market for Retail Real Estate 2003 — set the all-time record for attendance. This affirmed the retail real-estate professionals’ firm resolve to globalise business, said organiser Reed Midem.

Held in Cannes, France, from November 19-21 last year, the annual event brought together a powerhouse of property investors, developers, consultants, landowners, city authorities and retailing companies, particularly in the business of franchising. In fact, there were four pavilions at the show dedicated to this activity, offering diverse franchise and master franchise opportunities to retailers worldwide.

Attendance was generally up, said the organiser. The number of retailers attending MAPIC 2003 increased by 11% over the previous year while the total number of participants rose by almost 10%.

A total of 760 exhibitors showed the latest in shopping-centre design and technology as well as in management expertise. The event also showcased retail real-estate emerging concepts.

Make a note in your diary for the next MAPIC event which will take place from 17-19 November 2004 at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France.

A total of 4,723 exhibitors displayed their latest product offerings at Ambiente. The majority of exhibitors were pleased with their participation at Ambiente 2004, with 70% reporting that their business objectives had been fulfilled, said organiser Messe Frankfurt GmbH.

Exhibitors also noted the quality of show visitors, 63% of which came from Germany, with 37% from overseas. The majority of overseas visitors were from Europe and North America. Japan led the list in Asian visitors, showing a growth of 13%.

The largest number of exhibitors came from Europe and Germany with 1,545 companies, followed by Italy (355), the UK (173), France (149), the Netherlands (141) and Spain (143). From Asia, the largest number of exhibitors came from Thailand (206), India (184) and China (177).

A total of 1,495 exhibitors participated within the framework of the World of Gifts Unlimited. This show-within-a-show, occupying 38,500sqm of exhibition space, was a showcase featuring gifts from all over the world.

There were various trends spotted at the fair. Particularly popular among trade visitors were product groups such as Gifts Unlimited and Young & Trendy. While Young & Trendy revolved primarily around design and trend-oriented gift articles, Gifts Unlimited brought together a myriad of products suitable as gifts. Under this group, buyers found games, toys and dolls, fine leather goods, bags, stationery, miniature figurines and arts & crafts.

In line with the season, many of the products on display at the various halls in Ambiente featured the colours of spring and summer. Bright shades of red, yellow, orange, blue and green set clear accents and were rounded off by corresponding pastel shades, from pink to mint.

The country-house style of living remains highly topical this year with warm earth and leaf shades as well as a host of accessories fashioned out of noble rust, solid wood and wrought-iron.

Also topical were oriental home settings with profoundly glowing shades of orange, red and gold combined with heavy fabrics and elaborately decorated furnishings. By contrast, Baroque, a no-less elaborate design line, emphasised the more European notion of cocooning.

Catering to a vast variety of individual lifestyle concepts, an opposing design movement that made its presence felt at the fair can be described under the catch-all phrase of “unadulterated”. An example seen at Ambiente 2004 was the ascetic Japanese style of decoration, characterised by severe black and white patterns.

An unequivocal trend that could be identified, regardless of style, was the prevalence of “feel-good articles” touching on the wellness sphere, observed Messe Frankfurt.

In the case of suppliers of arts and crafts products, the trend leaned towards high-priced items. The bulk of the products were unique and of high-quality. Particularly topical were puristic shapes combined with subdued colours.

Jewellery manufacturers, on the other hand, turned increasingly to classic precious stones such as aquamarine, tanzanite, amethyst and citrine, and other colour variations of tourmaline. Also very much in vogue were finely-engraved jade and opaque stones such as natural calcedon, turquoise and coral. Fashionable wristwatches scored with both design and technical features.

The next Ambiente will be set for 11-15 February 2005.

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