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A beating textile heart in Frankfurt: Heimtextil ends with increased visitor and exhibitor numbers

Jan 14, 2017

Matchmaking at the trade fair: exhibitors and visitors highlight the quality of business contacts made. Future-oriented themes: more materiality, digital printing and sleeping.

Inspiring, touch-focused and close to the industry: Heimtextil finishes today after four successful trade fair days in Frankfurt am Main. In spite of the snow, ice and storms, particularly on the first and last days of the trade fair, almost 70,000 trade visitors (2016: 68,277) from across the world attended the leading trade fair for home and contract textiles and were won over by quality and variety of the exhibited products as well as the trends of the new season. Growth was driven primarily by Brazil, China, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Russia, the USA and United Arab Emirates. A total of 2963 exhibitors from 67 countries (2016: 2864) presented their new textile products and designs across 20 halls and appeared to be highly satisfied by the orders they received and business contacts they made. Detlauf Braun, CEO of Messe Frankfurt, highlighted the positives following the end of the trade fair: “The figures speak for themselves: Heimtextil grew once again in 2017 in terms of its visitor and exhibitor numbers. But it’s no longer about quantity and hasn’t been for a long time. I am especially pleased about the high quality of the products exhibited as well as the intensity of discussions between purchasers and exhibitors. Frankfurt is the international meeting place and beating textile heart of the interiors industry.”

Also positive: overall, visitors consider the sector’s economy to be in a better place even than last year. Visitors from Germany in particular consider the situation to be good (40 per cent).

Wernfried Fesenberg, Managing Director of Schlau Einkaufs GmbH, visited Heimtextil to get “a focused overview of the new products and trends in the individual product ranges. Given that they are exhibitors, it is possible to meet essential suppliers here and exchange ideas about trends, concept ideas and business possibilities.”

The trade fair’s initiative “My Heimtextil” targeted trade visitors from the German-speaking region. Part of this offer included the “Frankfurt Stöffche”: at the end of the first day of the trade fair, visitors from all the German states were invited to see out the day in hall 5.1 together with exhibitors, association representatives and business partners while enjoying Frankfurt cider and other Hesse specialities. Rolf Thöne, Managing Director at Teba confirms: “The new industry meet-up on the first evening of the trade fair was very positively received, as could be seen from the number of visitors. We enjoyed good discussions with other industry participants. We also met lots of regional customers at our stand and were able to make some good contacts. Interior decorators from the local region were particularly well represented. The electrification and automation of sun protection were the dominant themes at our stand, and these were enthusiastically embraced by customers.”

“We returned to Heimtextil at the right time: over the past few days, we have been successful in positioning our new profile and new product orientation,” says Andreas Klenk, CEO Saum & Viebahn. “The feedback from our visitors was thoroughly positive and we were able to acquire both export and domestic contacts. We will be leaving this Heimtextil with a good feeling and look forward to returning next year.”

Textile design: the eye feels too
It is not just the feel of a material that determines its appeal – something that was also obvious at Heimtextil with the great interest shown in textile design. The colourful fabrics and varied designs by well-known designers and young talent were very popular and attracted a lot of attention: “For me as a designer, Heimtextil is extremely interesting, in particular because I can see myself designing bed linen, pillows and other home textiles in future in addition to wallpaper,” says star designer Michael Michalsky, who presented his new wallpaper collection at the trade fair.

“At the world’s leading trade fair, competitors are present in great numbers. Here, I can experience marketing of products at close quarters and get direct feedback on my own new products.” And it was not just designers that showed great interest in the globally unique design offer at Heimtextil. Exhibiting companies also used the creative hotspot to acquire new designs for their upcoming collections.

Trend towards more materiality
An end to bare walls and cold floors: home textiles are celebrating their comeback in private homes. Curtains, carpets and decorative cushions are decorating people’s own four walls and lending them a personal note. “We can also confirm the trend towards more materiality. In addition to our new wallpaper products, we have seen an increased interest from visitors in our new fabric collections,” says Andreas Zimmermann, CEO Zimmer + Rohde. This trend is boosting orders at Heimtextil: “The quality of visitors was very high: we met very highquality, good international purchasers and excellent potential new customers. We are therefore very satisfied with our attendance at Heimtextil.”

Eye on the future: “Theme Park” and digital printing
The heart of the event and guidepost for important future-oriented themes in the industry was once again hall 6.0 with its visionary “Theme Park” trend area. There, the trends cultivated by a team of six international design studios were showcased under the title “Explorations”. For Heimtextil 2017, the depiction of these themed worlds was the responsibility of French trend office Carlin International under the aegis of Exalis.

This hall was also the location for suppliers from the product group “digital print technology” for the first time. In a special new presentation, the “Digital Textile Micro Factory”, they depicted what is considered state of the art in the digital printing segment in an impressive fashion and showed what possibilities this development offers for all areas of the textile value creation chain. In partnership with the German Institute for Textile and Fibre Research, visitors were able to experience a complete digital production chain live, from the design, digital printing and finishing to automatic cutting and confection.

Comprehensive offer for (interior) designers and hoteliers
The programme for the commercial sector was considerably expanded at Heimtextil 2017 under the title “Interior.Architecture.Hospitality”. In addition to the established offers for this segment, such as the specific exhibitor directory for the commercial sector, specialist presentations and guided tours of the trade fair, Heimtextil cooperated with the BDIA, the Federation of German Interior Designers, for the first time, as well as hotelforum management. Together with these and other partners, it provided additional high-quality training offers, in particular for interior designers and hotel furnishers, something that many exhibitors who aim at this target group also benefited from. Ulrich Welter, Managing Director of Welter Manufaktur für Wandunikate is very satisfied: “We had so much to do during the trade fair, it was never-ending. We were successful in clearly communicating the high quality of our products and we’re happy to have been a part of the architects’ tours carried out by the AIT, BDIA and AHGZ.” Edouard Ananijev, Managing Director Rahmig & Partner, is also very happy about the good reception: “Heimtextil 2017 was very successful for us. As a medium-sized company from Vogtland, we’re particularly proud of the high numbers of visitors and the exceptionally positive feedback we received from our visitors. The special award bestowed by AIT Trend garnered us more attention and was the icing on the cake at this Heimtextil.” Felicitas Lehner, Managing Director Lehner Wolle, used Heimtextil for the first time to present her new brand "Felice" to the market: “The trade fair is ideal for us in terms of testing the market within an environment that is uniquely international. Heimtextil is a platform where new products can be presented. We were particularly inspired by the reception our stand received as a result of the architects’ tour. We’re huge trade fair fans. To be successful, you need to know what’s happening. And you can only see that at trade fairs.”

Upholstery and décor materials experiencing ever greater popularity
One of the other drivers of growth at Heimtextil is the product group upholstery, which has flourished in terms of growth over the past three years. It includes décor and upholstery materials as well as upholstery and artificial leather. In 2017, this segment was considerably expanded at Heimtextil. 150 additional exhibitors have joined this segment in the past few years, most recently from Italy, Spain, Poland and Turkey in particular. Halls 4.0, 4.1 and 3.0, which present primarily décor and upholstery fabrics, were fully booked in 2017. At Heimtextil, Jörg Hersemann from Globatex is primarily able to reach producers of upholstered furniture: “This is where manufacturers of upholstered furniture, beds, chairs, corner seats etc. belong. The internationally renowned trade fair is a good platform for us to present our products to a wide audience of customers. We experienced thoroughly positive feedback and are planning to take part in the trade fair again in future.”

Sleeping as a lifestyle
After nutrition and fitness, sleeping will be the next big lifestyle theme. This was also proven by the numerous innovations seen in the bed segment. Mediflow from Hamburg, for example, presented an improved version of its water pillow capable of full adjustments for firmness and supportive effect. Robert Kocher, European CEO of Mediflow: “This year, we had lots of new customers at our stand who had heard about us and wanted to know more about our products or even ordered them directly. Visitors came primarily from the Middle East, China, the eastern European region and Scandinavia. We also enjoyed intense discussions with American and German customers. This is also the great strength of Heimtextil. You can shake hands with the world here. It is not just about sales, but also communication and establishing relationships or simply getting direct feedback on our products.” At the sleep campaign stand, visitors and exhibitors alike were able to inform themselves about the four things that can influence sleep. Heimtextil will continue to focus on the topic of sleeping over the coming years.

Bed linen and accessories – a highly promising combination
In keeping with the current topic of sleeping, the product group “bed” experienced a growth in exhibitors even before the trade fair opened its doors. The high-quality sleep worlds on offer in hall 11 were also complemented by accessories and decorative items such as lamps, baskets and bathroom items at many stands. These offer dealers interesting ways of expanding their product ranges. At the trend spot Retail in hall 11.1, specialist dealers were able to get some inspiration and find some concrete design ideas for presenting products at the POS. And one thing that this showed is that categorising products according to colour or style world, combining items with matching accessories and having knowledge of your own target group are just some of the ingredients to ensure success in the trade.

Sustainability: many trade visitors searching in targeted manner for green themes and products
“Visitors are now heading straight for us. Our stand is becoming ever more well known,” says Tina Stridder, Managing Director of “Aid by Trade Foundation” which had a presence in the “Green Village”, the expert centre for seal awarders and certifiers in hall 8. “We’ve been coming to Heimtextil for three years now and always had a lot of visitors. This year, however, both the quality and quantity of visitors was especially good, right from the very first day. The volume of visitors has grown considerably once again compared to previous years. We made lots of new contacts and quite literally met the whole world at our stand as well as the entire textile chain, from weavers to producers. We’re inspired.” The topic of sustainability has a long tradition at Heimtextil and many exhibitors have noticed that trade visitors are now making more concrete enquiries given that it is a topic that is becoming more relevant to end consumers. Under the title “Sustainability.Mindset.Responsibility”, Heimtextil provides a comprehensive offer comprising a special exhibitor directory, the “Green Directory”, guided tours, the “Green Tours”, and a varied programme of talks in the “Green Village”, a presentation area that also provides a supportive environment for discussions with certifiers and various industry experts. One of the themes at “Speaker’s Corner”, the presentation area of “Green Village”, was digital printing and the opportunities it presents to produce in a way that saves resources and is environmentally-friendly.

Additional exhibitor opinions

Hans van Aken, Forest Group B.V. (5.1 sun/deco systems)
“As an export-oriented company, we have customers in 85 countries around the globe. Here at Heimtextil we meet many of our customers and also acquire new ones. We love Heimtextil because our business partners can come to us and we save a lot of travelling. It is the most important trade fair for us and we’re there every year.”

Simone Jelli, General Manager Zoeppritz GmbH (11.0 bed)
“Heimtextil is an important trade fair for us because of the high visitor quality. Our products were very well received and we were able to reach all our important customers over the past few days, not just those from Germany, but also abroad.”

Jolien van Dijk, General Manager Vandyck (11.0 bed, bath)
“Vandyck has been part of Heimtextil for 40 years now. This year, we brought a new stand concept to the fair and it was very positively received by our visitors. We were able to welcome existing customers to our stand as well as make lots of new contacts. We’re already looking forward coming back to Heimtextil again next year.”

Manfred Renerig, Managing Director Vossen GmbH (11.0 bath)
“For us, Heimtextil is an investment in the future: our products were very much liked by visitors and we use the trade fair above all as a way to convey emotions. Over the past few days, we were able to emphasise our focus on the target group of women and we are very satisfied with our activities overall here at Heimtextil.”

Juan Carlos Villanueva, Managing Director Pepa Pastor S.L. (3.1 wall)
“We see a clear signal that the industry is recovering.”

Martina Unternaehrer, owner Storyfabrics GmbH (11.1 bed)
“This is my first Heimtextil. This is the first time that people have been able to get to know us in the market. I am happy with the amount of people at our stand and the interest in our products. This is our first fair outside Switzerland and our first B-2-B fair. We manufacture our products in India, which is the largest producer of organic cotton and fair trade certified. A small company like ours has to go to the big fairs to be taken seriously. We have met with potential customers from Switzerland that I couldn’t get a meeting with in Switzerland. We also had many press contacts. So for all of that, Heimtextil was very worthwhile for us.”

Martin Dujardin, export key account manager Lefebvre Textile (8.0 bed)
“It was exactly what we expected. A lot of the visitors were already customers we had expected, but we did have some surprises. We have mostly bedding sets and home décor and we presented a new collection at Heimtextil. We sell to large retailers and they were here from France, Germany, the Netherlands and all of Europe, as well as USA and Australia. We came to Heimtextil because we wanted to grow and expand in Europe beyond the French market and start exporting to Europe. This is exactly our market. It was a good experience and we are very satisfied. We definitely plan to come back.”

The next Heimtextil, international trade fair for home and contract textiles, will take place from 9–12 January 2018 in Frankfurt am Main.

Further information about Heimtextil is available at:

Information about global textile trade fairs by Messe Frankfurt available at:

Background information on Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. With more than 2,300 employees at some 30 locations, the company generates annual sales of around €647 million. Thanks to its far-reaching ties with the relevant sectors and to its international sales network, the Group looks after the business interests of its customers effectively. A comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services.
With its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).
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