Significantly more interest shown by buyers from outside Germany thanks to an economic upturn and an optimistic business climate in the sector
Premium value, quality and mixed-media in great demand at Paperworld
The trio of consumer-goods fairs in Frankfurt am Main – Christmasworld, Paperworld and Creativeworld – closed their doors after a successful run during which they generated a host of positive impulses for the new business year. “Despite the difficult economic climate prevailing in the sector, the three fairs more than held their own with constant visitor numbers. Altogether, 83,174 visitors from 154 countries (2013: 83,206 from 145 countries) made their way to Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre to see the latest products and trends, and to place their orders for the coming business year”, said Detlef Braun, Member of the Board of Management of Messe Frankfurt GmbH, summarising the results. In particular, there was an increase in the number of international buyers at all three events. “The high degree of interest and the large number of orders placed by visitors from outside Germany confirm that Christmasworld, Paperworld und Creativeworld are the leading international trade fairs for their individual sectors”, added Detlef Braun. Altogether, 60 percent of visitors came from outside Germany (2013: 58 percent).
Following last year’s rather cool business climate, exhibitors and visitors of all three fairs reported a good mood and a more optimistic economic outlook than a year ago. “Once again, all three events – Paperworld, Creativeworld and Christmasworld – offered a host of trends, new products and attractive ranges for both the core and supplementary assortments. For trade visitors from all over Germany, the organisers ensured not only great accessibility but also a business environment of a very high standard. For 2015, the trade hopes that, in addition to the renowned office-supplies brands that have already announced their participation next year, other well-known companies will decide to take part in the world’s leading trade fair for the sector in Frankfurt and thus underscore their office expertise”, said Thomas Grothkopp, Director General of the German Office Supplies and Stationery Association (Handelsverband Bürowirtschaft und Schreibwaren – HBS) , with reference to the concept currently being prepared for Paperworld 2015 by Messe Frankfurt and the paper, office supplies and stationery industry.
Paperworld reflects developments in the sector
2013 was a year of uncertainty for the paper, office supplies and stationery sector and the number of exhibitors taking part in Paperworld 2014 clearly reflects developments in the sector (1,670 exhibitors from 59 countries / -6.4 percent compared to 2013). Total sales in the German paper, office supplies and stationery market fell for the second year running to € 13.011 billion. In particular, commercial office supplies remained under pressure, which was reflected by the absence of many Germany exhibitors in this part of Paperworld. “Alternative options for taking part in the fair are necessary for these manufacturers and suppliers. Therefore, we are working with the ‘PBS-Industrieverband’ and ‘Altenaer Kreis’ associations and German manufacturers on a new concept for Paperworld, which will come into effect in 2015. As organisers, we are flexible enough to integrate the wishes of important groups and thus take due account of the needs of market participants”, says Detlef Braun.
Nevertheless, the mood among exhibitors and visitors at Paperworld 2014 was noticeably better than a year ago. Thus, 72 percent of exhibitors rated the economic situation in the sector as being satisfactory to good – compared to only 69 percent in 2013. Both German and international exhibitors are more confident when it comes to the outlook for 2014 and their estimates of how the paper, office supplies and stationery sector will evolve. “For 2014, companies in the paper, office supplies and stationery sector anticipate sales on a higher level than last year and see the future in an optimistic light”, says Horst-Werner Maier-Hunke, Chairman of the Association of the Paper, Office Supplies and Stationery Industry (PBS-Industrieverband). Visitors also consider that the economic situation in the sector is better now than at the beginning of 2013 with 81 percent reporting a satisfactory to good development (2013: 77 percent). However, there is a discrepancy between German and foreign visitors: visitors from outside Germany consider the economic situation to be very good while German visitors expect sales to remain at the same level as last year. “The challenge facing shops in the paper, office supplies and stationery sector is to target customers more specifically, to focus their presentations on the core assortment, to offer and spotlight supplementary products more frequently and to ‘gather’ customers online via social-media communication”, said Ulf Ohlmer, President German Office Supplies and Stationery Association (Handelsverband Bürowirtschaft und Schreibwaren – HBS).
Paperworld remains the most international platform for the paper, office supplies and stationery market in 2014
This year, Paperworld welcomed 1,670 exhibitors (2013: 1,784) from 59 countries. All in all, exhibitors rated the results of this year’s fair as being an improvement on last year. As shown by the exhibitor poll, an indication of this is the better contact made with visitor target groups compared to 2013. Particularly important from the exhibitors’ point of view was the higher degree of visitor internationality.
“To take part in Paperworld was the right decision. The echo has been excellent, especially in international terms. The fair has been very good. There is no alternative to Paperworld because it is the international meeting place”, confirmed Angelika Lange, Marketing Manager, HSM GmbH & Co. KG.
42,145 visitors (2013: 45,360) from all over the world came to the international trade fair to discover new products from the office supplies, writing and drawing utensils, school articles, gifts, wrapping materials, stationery and greetings-cards segments. For structural and economic reasons the number of German retailers at Paperworld was significantly down on the previous year. However, foreign demand for a trade fair such as Paperworld remains high and extremely stable in terms of international visitor numbers. Thus, the level of visitor internationality rose again, from 62 to 65 percent. Hubert Haizmann, CEO of Krug + Priester GmbH & Co. KG, confirmed this saying, “We are very pleased with the course of business at the fair. Although the emphasis was on international visitors, we were able to welcome all key accounts from Germany. The mood in the trade is good. This is the place to discuss the cultural change towards digital products.”
The top five visitor nations were Italy, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands and Spain whereby growth was particularly apparent from Great Britain (+4 percent) and Spain (+18 percent). Also encouraging is the increased proportion of visitors from the international (specialist) retail trade, which reached 19 percent this year (2012: 13 percent). The number of orders placed also rose.
In common with last year, the focal points of visitor demand were on the office supplies, office paper and school articles product groups. Despite a slight decline in visitor and exhibitor numbers, both visitors and exhibitors were satisfied with Paperworld and are taking an optimistic view of the future.
Programme of events generates impulses for the sector
With 1,670 exhibitors and 42,145 visitors, Paperworld is the world’s biggest trade fair for paper, office supplies and stationery and presents a range of products unrivalled anywhere in terms of depth and breadth. From paper, via printer accessories, to office products and writing utensils, it offers new products and trends for the retail and wholesale trades. Additionally, the programme of events with special shows, trends and lectures generates vital impulses and provides the sector with the ideas it needs to survive in volatile times.
As in previous years, the first port of call on the way to discovering tomorrow’s trends was the Paperworld Trend Show, which is prepared by Trend Bureau bora.herke.palmisano on behalf of Messe Frankfurt and presents the latest colours, surfaces and designs using products from Paperworld exhibitors.
The Mr Books & Mrs Paper special show is aimed at the book trade and provided a variety of sophisticated ideas for combining books with paper, office supplies and stationery products. “Visitors particularly like the thematic composition whereby the soccer World Cup corner naturally proved especially popular”, said non-book expert Angelika Niestrath.
Also very well attended were the ‘Let’s Wrap’ live demonstrations by wrapping expert Arona Khan, who offered visitors a variety of tips and tricks for appealing gift wrapping.
The focus of the promotional area of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie – BMWi) is on young companies. There, start-ups presented their fresh ideas and new products. “Visitors were very interested in our mini-stamps and we are very pleased that we made a presentation at the promotional area”, said Mareike Rimpl of Stemplino.
The greetings-card design competition also helps young talents launch their careers. Greetings cards created by design students were on show at Café Card throughout the fair. The three most attractive cards chosen through visitor voting were honoured on the last day. The overall winner, Nicola Kossakowski, was also presented with the prize as Facebook favourite.
The opening ceremony of the Asia Design Excellence special show was honoured by a distinguished guest. In her speech, the Thai Ambassador emphasised the large number of exhibitors from her country and the increased quality of products ‘made in Asia’.
With different expert lectures every day, the Paperworld Forum offered visitors a wealth of new information about the sector. This year, the programme was expanded to include the Webchance Academy, which was held at the Christmasworld lecture area. The online trade, e-commerce and search-engine marketing were the main subjects covered for the trade of all three fairs.
Trend: combining the digital and real worlds in the paper, office supplies and stationery sector
The sector is reacting to the increasing digitalisation of everyday life. In both the commercial and private spheres, products are offered that combine or supplement the digital and real worlds. For example, more manufacturers of writing utensils presented stylus pens and children’s fountain pens, which enable children to learn to write on both tablets and paper with the same instrument. Alongside this, there is a growing trend in all segments towards combining classic products with the digital world whereby the spectrum ranges from the security app of a stationery manufacturer to a QR code video clip greetings card and the stickers of a start-up company. Even ‘augmented reality’ has found its way into the sector. For example, a Greek company exhibits exercise books, files and blocks with animal motifs, which can be brought to life using a smartphone or tablet PC. “Our customers love it when products come to life with augmented reality. For children in particular, it is great fun and there is also a learning effect thanks to background information in the supplementary applications. Our participation in Paperworld has been a great success and we were able to make many new customer contacts via this product”, said Theo Skagias, International Marketing Manager, Skagias AS.
Especially in the business world, digital writing is supplemented by handwritten notes in high-quality notebooks. In this case, premium value, quality and individuality are essential. This trend towards high-quality products is also to be seen in the personal accessories, SoHo and greetings-card segments. Another important subject, especially for the retail trade, is multi-channel solutions. And the Webchance Academy examined the opportunities for combining the bricks-and-mortar and online businesses. “Our aim with the integration of Webchance Academy in the three leading international trade fairs is to provide relevant support for the retail trade. The online trade and e-commerce are important additions to the in-shop assortment”, says Paperworld Director Michael Reichhold. The bricks-and-mortar trade also receives direct support from manufacturers in the form of additional online services. This development towards ‘multi-channel retail outlets’ is expected to be in ever greater demand in the future and represents an opportunity for shops to become more attractive in the consumer’s eye.
Significant fall in the number of forgeries discovered
As in previous years, the Main Customs Office in Darmstadt seized suspected forgeries at this year’s Paperworld. “We checked 850 exhibition stands and discovered suspicious products at 34 of them. We have been checking the products of Paperworld exhibitors for nine years. To prevent forgeries being ordered at the fair and reaching the retail trade subsequently, we also seize catalogues and posters, or have the articles concerned blacked out” said Customs spokesperson Kirsten Jung. This year, the Customs officials seized 163 printed and CD catalogues. Although twice as many exhibition stands were checked, the number of articles confiscated fell by around 50 percent compared to the previous year whereby there was a significant decline in the number of forgeries offered in the pens & pencils and text marker product groups. At the same time, however, there was an increase in the number of forgeries in the toner-cartridge segment. Parallel to this, Messe Frankfurt helps exhibitors and holders of intellectual-property rights secure and preserve their rights through the ‘Messe Frankfurt against Copying’ campaign.
As always, Paperworld opens its doors on the last Saturday in January and, therefore, will next be held from 31 January to 3 February 2015
You will find further information and a wide range of photographs in our portal for journalists at http://paperworld.messefrankfurt.com
Background information on Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is one of the world's leading trade show organisers with around 543* million euros in sales and 2,026* 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 2013, Messe Frankfurt organised 114* 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.
For more information, please visit our website at: www.messefrankfurt.com
* preliminary figures (2013)
 Basis: Figures for 2013 certified by the Society for the Voluntary Control of Fair and Exhibition Statistics (Gesellschaft zur freiwilligen Kontrolle von Messe- und Ausstellungszahlen – FKM), Berlin
 Source: IFH Retail Consultants Institute, Cologne
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