I just finished visiting Euroshop 2014 in Duesseldorf, Germany, the largest trade show in the world geared towards the retail industry. From lighting to mannequins, shopping carts to acrylic displays, bread making machines to flooring, and of course, my favorite, decorative surfaces, are all featured at this fair. To give you an idea of the size, think 14 separate buildings with several hundred thousand square feet of exhibition space, and it gives you an idea of the vastness of Euroshop. I always allocate 2 days to cover the show for 2 reasons: 1) there is a lot of ground to cover but you need time to speak with exhibitors to learn more about their products and 2) you get tired and lose your focus.
Every year there is a theme to the show, and this year it was the Multi Channel retail reality. Euroshop only happens once every three years, which has its plusses and minus. A big negative is that with the speed of change in the mobile and Internet based shopping reality, 3 years is a lifetime, and frankly, they are now trying to put the genie back into the bottle. Mobile was barely on the radar screen when the last Euroshop was staged, so trying to respond to that reality 3 years later is simply too long a gap. On the plus side, in more general terms, major trends do not evolve on a yearly basis, so a 3 year gap really allows the industry to collect its thoughts and have a show theme that really speaks to the megatrends. The other observation is that by having to budget for a show only once every 3 years, money is made available to create some absolutely amazing exhibits.
From the perspective of my area of interest, decorative surfacing finishes, I have to say that I was disappointed. Only 5 laminate producers were showing and 4 were German. So any international influence was non- existent. The trend was certainly towards more woodgrains, but also with some very sophisticated stones- certainly not the average granite or marble. However all German manufacturers are quite expensive and with the high Euro/$ exchange rate, their products are not the most competitive in the marketplace.
One trend that I did pick up on was concrete. One exhibitor had thin concrete floor tiles, all the laminate manufacturers had an interpreation of concrete and another company from Norway had custom printed wallcovering to imitate concrete. However at a price of $ 15.00 p.s.f. this will be a tough sell.
Other European suppliers had specialty products that were unique but again very expensive. One company had a wall covering line that had glass fragments bonded to it, and an Austrian company had a laminate with naturals products, such as rose petals or straw bonded to a substrate. But again price will the the problem- both of these products started at $ 15.00 p.s.f.
So the bottom line is some innovation but for only exceptional, high budget projects.
Stay tuned - more to come!