Global demand for furniture made in Germany is continuing to grow. The European market remains its main destination. But with growth of more than 25 per cent, China may soon catch up with the top destinations for German furniture exports.
In several respects, Germany can be described as the country for furniture – as is also reflected in the development of the imm cologne. The event has returned to its former strength and has been reporting a steady increase in attendance figures since 2009. This is due on the one hand to a trade fair platform that has proved its worth and on the other to the stable economic situation and high demand for furnishings within the Federal Republic.
“For many years now, this trade fair has been an absolute must, even if there are a few weaker years behind us,” explains Frank Haubold, Vice President Trade Fair Management at Koelnmesse. “In 2012, we were once again able to welcome a lot of first-time exhibitors to the imm cologne – young, up-and-coming companies who saw their presence at the trade fair as a way of gaining a stronger foothold in Germany and Europe. But it wasn’t only new providers who came to Cologne: a lot of firmly established manufacturers returned as well – precisely because the German furniture show enjoys such a good reputation and, in recent years, has been able to improve its standing even further.”
Translated into figures, this means an increase from 948 exhibiting companies in 2009 to no fewer than 1,159 this year. In addition, the number of visitors grew by 15% to approx. 115,000 in the same period.
From 18th to 23rd January 2011 – parallel to the imm cologne – the international kitchen trade fair LivingKitchenÂ® will be held in Cologne for the first time. The international kitchen show will be an independent event that takes place every two years in Halls 4.2 and 5.2 of Koelnmesse Exhibition Centre.
The show will have three Public Days and bring together national and international exhibitors from the entire kitchen industry. Even now, one year before the event, numerous leading companies have registered to take part. The complete list can be viewed at www.livingkitchen-cologne.com.
Gerald BĂ¶se, CEO of Koelnmesse, commented on this extremely pleasing booking status at a press conference in Cologne: “What makes us strong is our solidarity with the industry, the retail sector and the associations. The common ground between us isn’t just restricted to our goals, it extends to our approach for achieving those goals as well.”
The imm cologne ended on Sunday, 24th January 2010 with a positive closing balance. Despite being shortened by a day, the fair managed to equal the previous year’s result with around 100,000 visitors. The number of exhibitors even slightly exceeded last year’s level. From Koelnmesse’s perspective, the high expectations of the imm cologne as one of the most important fairs for the international furniture and interior design sector have thus been met.
“The exhibitors have used their innovativeness to brave the crisis and been rewarded by doing good business,” says Koelnmesse’s CEO Gerald BĂ¶se. “Cologne is the business forum for the industry,” concludes the head of the trade fair company. The positive mood that prevailed in the halls for the entire duration of the fair was also emphasised by Dirk-Uwe Klaas: “This was by far the most successful furniture show for years. In the midst of the crisis, trade visitors and end consumers alike have given us impressive confirmation that the imm cologne has regained its former strength,” says the chief executive of the Association of the German Furniture Industry (Verband der Deutschen MĂ¶belindustrie, VDM).Â As announced last Friday, Koelnmesse and the VDM as non-material sponsor of the imm cologne have extended their contract long-term to continue this successful collaboration beyond the scope of the imm cologne 2010.
The average German only replaces his sofa with a new one every 8-12 years. Donâ€™t you sometimes wish there was a scrapping incentive for furniture too?
We in the furniture industry arenâ€™t calling for subsidies â€“ we just want equal treatment for all sectors. Instead of getting people to scrap their cars, the politicians ought to be scrapping taxes for normal citizens and SMEs so theyâ€™ve got more money left in their pockets and budgets at the end of the month â€“ money they can use however they see fit.
The imm cologneâ€™s Trendboard is anticipating a return to more quality consciousness as a response to the economic crisis. Is â€śrealâ€ť quality actually still affordable these days?
Weâ€™re living in a time when people are refraining from quick consumption again so yes, you could say people have started to change their mentality. Theyâ€™re becoming more sensitive to how we use the worldâ€™s resources and looking for things that promise value and durability again. Thatâ€™s why thereâ€™s an increasing demand for sustainability and value in our industry too. For earlier generations it was normal not to follow every furniture or clothing fashion or go along with every new style that came out. Then there was a period of rapid and changing consumption. The pleasure was often short-lived and the products interchangeable.
For Dirk-Uwe Klaas, CEO of the Association of the German Furniture Industry (VDM) in Bad Honnef, itâ€™s obvious why home styling has finally been discovered as the latest hot topic: â€śPeople spend approx. 340 days a year in their own home. Thatâ€™s why an increasing number of people are coming to see home as a place for self-fulfilment. Nowhere else can you indulge your own tastes as freely as in your own four walls.â€ť
Cars instead of sofas â€“ a lean period for German furniture manufacturers
But even if home styling has become a cult â€“ is it actually still possible to make money with furniture in the face of shrinking private budgets and the massively subsidised bargains available on the automotive market right now? At first glance, the German furniture industryâ€™s half-yearly figures indicate a resounding â€śnoâ€ť. With sales of 7.6 billion euros, German furniture manufacturers were an alarming 13.8 percent or 1.2 billion euros down on the previous yearâ€™s figure.
However, in view of the unique economic situation right now, any serious answer to the profitability question must take account of figures from earlier years as well. Back in 2008, for instance, the results painted a very different picture: furniture producers ended the year with growth of 1.6 percent. Although there was a slight decline in domestic sales, this was more than offset by export growth of 4.3 percent as compared to the previous year.
The Japanese cultivate a delicate minimalism. The Americans like heavy furniture with a colonial look. The Italians love low horizontal lines and gleaming fronts. And the Germans insist on an abundance of ingenious storage space. Is this actually true? Are these style pigeonholes still applicable? This question is best answered at imm cologne from 19 to 25 January 2009. Renowned lounge and bedroom manufacturers from regions all over the world will exhibit their wares under the sub-brand imm prime and imm prime design in halls 2.2, 3.2, 4.2 and 3.1 of the international furniture trade fair held in Cologne.
Despite the financial crisis and its current effects on the economy, the German furniture industry sees an opportunity to increase the status of homes and furnishings in these difficult times. Whenever people feel extremely insecure, their own home and the sense of security and safety connected with their own four walls assume a higher status. Only the furniture industry can satisfy this feeling now, and thereby bring furniture higher up the ranking list of personal desires. In addition, furniture as a valuable and life-long consumer item represents a long-lasting and reliable investment.
The figures and statistics seen since the summer provide evidence that this hope is not entirely without foundation. In the otherwise extremely different 3rd quarter of the year, in which almost no other industry branch escaped unscathed, growth of 1.5 percent was realised.
Irrespective of whether in Singapore, Herrenberg or Willisau, in Stanleytown, Stadtlohn or Ikornnes, well-known international furniture manufacturers are gearing up for imm cologne (January 19 to 25, 2009).
What has attracted exhibitors and visitors from all over the world to this mega-event in Cologne for nearly 60 years?
Why we come to Cologne – Testimonials