Mar 4, 2013
Ambiente Once Again Confirms its Position as The World’s Leading Trade Fair

The international Ambiente consumer-goods fair closed its doors after an excellent five-day run at Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre, during which 4,688 exhibitors from 81 countries (2012: 4,530 exhibitors, 88 countries[1]) presented their latest products, trends and innovations. “Ambiente 2013 left no doubt that consumption is ‘in’ and gave an impressive demonstration of its position as the world’s leading consumer-goods fair. Despite the difficult economic circumstances prevailing in parts of Europe, Ambiente was able to grow on both the exhibitor and visitors sides”, said Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt GmbH.

The world’s leading consumer-goods fair was opened by Germany’s Minister for Economics and Technology, Dr Philipp Rösler, and his French colleague, Sylvia Pinel. The French Minister for Crafts, Trade and Tourism came to Frankfurt for the opening of Ambiente as the high-level representative of this year’s Partner Country, France. On Monday, the grande dame of cinéma français – Catherine Deneuve – also visited the international consumer-goods fair and was impressed by the creative variety and the high quality of the products to be seen. With over 140,000 visitors, Ambiente 2013 was distinguished by remarkable growth in the number of visitors (2012: 138,058 visitors1), which made it more than ever before the leading order platform for the coming season’s innovations and new products, and a source of inspiration for the entire sector.

“This year, we welcomed more new customers than ever before and are extremely pleased with our sales results. Ambiente remains the world’s leading trade fair for our segment”, said Magnus Busch, Business Development Manager of DFP Design. As well, Hamid Yazdtschi, CEO of Gilde-Handwerk Macrander GmbH & Co. KG emphasised the importance of the fair: “The international Ambiente trade fair is the biggest event for specialist trade in consumer-goods”. This was also shown by the high satisfaction rating given to the fair by visitors: at 96 percent (2012: 96 percent), it remains on a very high level.

Giving: a threefold increase in terms of exhibitor numbers, visitor quality and level of internationality With 1,402 exhibitors (2012: 1,270), the Giving sector attracted significantly more companies than last year. An exhibitor of many years’ standing is Hoff Interieur, whose CEO Lars Adler was very pleased with the course of business at the fair: “Ambiente is the 9th fair in which we have taken part this year. And it proved to be the best order platform for us. Around 60 percent of the customers who came to our stand here were from outside Germany. Overall, the size of the average order also increased. Robert Kremson, Marketing Manager of Boltze, was also very pleased with the high level of internationality on the visitor side: We had the impression that there were more international visitors and have been able to gain many new customers – a large proportion of them from outside Germany.”

The increased proportion of buyers from abroad means that Ambiente is particularly attractive to export-oriented manufacturers. Talking about his participation in the fair, Sebastian Montaud, proprietor of Le Chatelard said, “For us, Ambiente 2013 was a very good fair. Lots of buyers from almost all countries, for example, Russia, Asia and the USA, came to our stand. Ambiente is a door opener and the most important European fair for the international market.” The top 10 visitor nations at Ambiente 2013 were Italy, France, The Netherlands, USA, Great Britain, Switzerland, Spain, China, the Russian Federation and Austria. Double-digit increases in the number of visitors were achieved from the target regions of East Europe (Russia and the Baltic States) and South America (Argentina and Brazil). Growth was also noted from the booming economic regions of the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar) and India. More visitors also made their way to Frankfurt from important West European markets, such as Italy and the United Kingdom.

The high visitor quality was also a source of satisfaction among exhibitors. Talking about his company’s presentation at this year’s Ambiente, Dennis Winkes, CEO Germany of Present Time, said, “We have been able to make some very, very high-quality contacts here in Frankfurt – from associations to bulk buyers. On Sunday, we could have used even more staff to help cope with the flood of customers.” Ronald Langer, CEO of Dazzl Design, also reported a similar situation at his exhibition stand on the Sunday of the fair: “Generally speaking, we are always very busy at Ambiente. This afternoon, our stand was full to bursting. We even had to make appointments with buyers because we couldn’t deal with them all at once. Here in Frankfurt, it is possible for an exhibitor to be successful at the fair. Companies that come here can do some very good business.”

Volker Lang, CEO of Volker Lang Accessoires was delighted with the heterogeneous groups of visitors at the multi-sector fair: “This was the first time we have exhibited at Ambiente because it gives us the chance to attract customers who are not so closely linked to the leather-goods and fashion trade. We welcomed visitors from a variety of European countries and the USA, as well as lots from Asia. Naturally, many of them are regular customers. However, there was also a host of new contacts.”

A similar experience was also made by exhibitors of the new Watch Area. They included Andreas Filius, CEO of Filius Zeitdesign, who said, “We are very pleased with what Messe Frankfurt has done for the Watch Area because we encounter a completely different set of customers here than at a pure jewellery and watch fair. At Ambiente, customers are more willing to experiment and are very keen on new products. They want to be a ‘nose ahead’. The large number of international visitors is very striking, too.” Also pleasantly surprised was Georg Plum, CEO of M&M: “The visitors included not only existing customers but also very many new German and international contacts. For us, Frankfurt is a good opportunity to reach new target groups.”

The very good overall atmosphere at the fair – on both the exhibitor and visitor sides – was neatly summed up by Jürgen Reiter, Managing Partner of Karem, who said, “Frankfurt is where it all happens! Trends for giving: fresh, colourful and full of variety

For five days, more than 1,400 exhibitors at Ambiente revealed their new trends and innovations in the fields of Gifts Unlimited, Young & Trendy, Carat, Personal Accessories, Beauty & Bath, Smoking Accessories and Passage Gifts. The fashion summary is that colour, quality and individuality are the big themes everywhere, from kitsch to art.

Colour, colour, colour
Whether it is jewellery, handbags, gifts, home accessories or wellness, everywhere colourful diversity is triumphant. Everything is allowed, from fruity shades of pastel and sorbet to bright strong colours. For the summer, appliqués in glaring neon colours provide a modern focus. Autumn will see an elegant combination of cool turquoise, in all its many nuances, and cream and silver. Wherever graphic elements make their appearance, colour combinations like black, white and red, and white and dark brown give a youthfully distinguished impression. In the high-end watch and jewellery segment, gold may reappear after the long silver phase.

On the go
Useful accessories and attachments for smartphones and tablets are becoming more and more indispensable. This starts with the glitter clutch for the iPhone and ranges as far as iPad cases that even make it possible to operate the tablet while the owner is walking. Acceptable gifts – not only for men – include stylos, in other words, iPad pens, and laser pointers. Things get very cosy on a cushion with a built-in mobile connection and speakers. The great thing about it is that one’s bedfellow is not disturbed by the soft music. Also for use in bed is the iBed: a practical tablet tray.

The permanent trend is sustainability
Glitter and strass may still be omnipresent, but also natural materials like wood, leather or paper are more and more in harmony with the pulse of the time. The megatrend of sustainability is definitely leaving its mark here. Recycling or rather upcycling, in other words, the creative use of materials that have already been used, can be seen more and more frequently with the new collections. It may be furniture made of old parquet flooring or driftwood, or even jewellery made from recycled cans. Today, almost every sales talk includes the question about origins and methods of manufacture. There are also surprising innovations such as paper made out of stone. It is chlorine and acid-free, water-repellent, virtually tear-proof and yet 100% degradable despite this. Also 100% degradable are beakers and bowls made from sugar, bamboo or maize, which are not only modern and sustainable, but also dishwasher-safe. Organic is in and clever ideas are in demand as they have never been before. So perhaps the owl may continue to be the high-flyer among the still very popular deco-style animals of the forest in 2013.

Gifts unlimited
Today, in search of the one great trend, one mainly encounters the desire for individuality, appreciation and sustainability, which expresses itself in almost all styles. This goes hand in hand with a change in people’s behaviour when it comes to choosing gifts and decoration. Many consumers no longer decorate their surroundings only on a purely seasonal basis. They rather prefer to pep up their environment to match their own style and colour schemes with higher-quality eye-catchers.

In the general blaze of colour, it is permitted here and there to take the gaudy approach, for example in the rather young cupcake and related motifs. Very feminine themes are ‘grandma’s kitchen’ and ‘patisserie’. Here, soft sorbet colours are mixed with a modern country house ambience. To accompany them is a rather masculine vintage style. Whether it be shabby chic, the US-Mail look or used styles, new products look like old heirlooms or bear the marks of long journeys to communicate an earthy lifestyle. The colonial style is also announcing its comeback, although in a new garb. Materials such as wood, stone or shells combine with fresh soft shades of white, cream and green in the ever popular natural style. For Christmas, incidentally, in addition to the cooler colours, warm gold tones will also be important for that certain element of ‘boudoir splendour’.

Young + Trendy:
There are no limits to the imagination when it comes to technical gadgets. Along with these, however, there are manifold product ideas from the analogue world. For example, there is a house bar in the Old New York style as a place of personal encounter and as an answer to the virtual digital world. With fast moving gift articles, what also counts is quality and sustainability along with the emotional link to the idea and usefulness of the present. Examples are a double picture frame connected with a so-called love padlock, for aeroplane enthusiasts a clock in the shape of the revolving turbines of a jumbo jet, a carrot knife that makes it easy to create shapes for dining-table decorations. Fun items are also very much in demand, for example, a shape for transforming fried eggs into clouds, a starter set of kiss vouchers for young lovers or a document-file and cushion combination for those who like to sleep in style in the office.

Watches – two worlds of their own
With clocks and jewellery, there is an essential difference between luxury and fashion. In the top-quality range, the themes are exclusiveness as well as the products’ individual design history, for example replicas of Swiss aviator watches from the 1940s in the vintage style. In the fashion field, many manufacturers provide a version of one and the same model in different colours, thus ensuring optimum combinability and collectability. Also in demand are special editions that reinterpret the designs of the 70s and 80s, or works by artists in which the hands and the face of the watch create dramatic colour displays. Despite the desire to be in keeping with the trend, however, they have to be of good quality, water-proof and scratch-resistant for work, leisure and sport. Even for the ladies, the watches are still large, although generally the mega-size theme is slowing down slightly.

With a large number of colours and materials and the desire to combine them, the trends in fashion jewellery communicate freshness and joie de vivre. There is no limit to taste: everything is allowed from gemstones, pearls, strass, leather, rubber, bands or even cord. Young designers go as far as using Murano glass and industrial materials such as steel springs. This large selection is an invitation to create combinations of one’s own and so everything that fits in with the modern wardrobe is spontaneously thrown together, stuck together and draped together. This will please a number of enthusiasts: one major theme is still the collection of new varieties of charms. In the high-quality jewellery field, the trend towards exclusivity and individuality is continuing. Goldsmiths especially are producing surprisingly unusual designs that break up the rounded shape of chains, for example, to produce a multitude of variations.

Personal accessories
Quite a few personal accessories are also very colourful. In addition to classically elegant styles, there are fashionable handbags and purses, cases for smart-phones and tablets covering and boldly combining the entire range of colours, just like the materials used, which range from smooth to embossed leather to fleece and felt. Despite all chic appearances, the practical side also counts for a great deal: bags must be light and their compartments must be well organised, including an integrated torch.

In summer, neon is an effective eye-catcher. For moderate tastes, there is a fresh grey available that can also be seen in fashionable additions such as scarves, shawls, hair accessories or clothing

Beauty & Bath
Wellness is also a form part of everyday life. For example, there are scented candles to accompany the traveller on journeys to create that personal feel-at-home ambience even in a hotel room. Containers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, going even as far as 24 carat gold. Exciting room fragrances such as bergamot pepper or berry shake mainly feature a fresh, often fruity note. Their sweetest side is emphasised by candles with flavours of cupcake and frozen yoghurt. At the same time, the demand for top quality organic products continues to grow, thus benefiting many suppliers who are traditionally oriented towards pure nature. In skin care, there is a surprise to be found in natural candles. Instead of becoming hot, their wax only becomes warm and can be used as a richly intense massage oil. In the realm of beauty, licensed brand products are especially en vogue, on a scale both large and small, with new editions adding constant variety.

Gourmet gifts – tasting the spirit of the times
Making presents of culinary delicacies is in, providing special moments that can be enjoyed together. The favourite is traditional regional fare, refined with the best of Mediterranean cuisine. This includes mixed herbs for making delicious dips, lovingly packed and easy to prepare or unusual liqueurs, for example using basil, thus paving the way for new hip drinks in addition ‘Hugo’ and similar cocktails. When it comes to tea, the trendy drink par excellence, the tastes that dominate are bamboo-herb, or fresh, sweet hints of hibiscus, vervain lemon and coconut fig. There are also new chocolate trends to take epicures into dimensions of taste hitherto undreamt of. The liquorice finish is still the most usual of these. There are also delicious items that can be sent by mail. On request, a chocolate greeting card can be personalised and mailed by the makers themselves. Anyone wanting to take the initiative on their own can bake it in a special cake tin that also serves as a shipping container.

More than just culinary highlights can also be expected next yar because Japan is the Partner Country of Ambiente 2014 and, from 7 to 11 February, will present insights into the country and its products in an extensive programme at the world’s leading consumer-goods fair.

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Background information on Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is Germany’s leading trade fair organiser, with 538* million euros in sales and 1,891* active employees worldwide. The Messe Frankfurt Group has a global network of 28 subsidiaries and approx. 50 international Sales Partners, giving it a presence for its customers in more than 150 countries. Events “made by Messe Frankfurt” take place at more than 30 locations around the globe. In 2012, Messe Frankfurt organised 109* trade fairs, of which more than half took place outside Germany.

Messe Frankfurt’s exhibition grounds, featuring 578,000 square metres, are currently home to ten exhibition halls and an adjacent Congress Center. The company is publicly owned, with the City of Frankfurt holding 60 percent and the State of Hesse 40 percent.

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* Preliminary figures (2012).

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