On 23rd January 2011, the imm cologne and LivingKitchen in Cologne drew to a close with an excellent result. Including estimates for the final day of the fair, the dual event drew around 138,000 visitors to Cologne - an increase of 38 percent.

"What's been happening here over the last few days is unbelievable. What trade fair can announce such marked double-digit visitor growth? That's a great signal for the consumer goods trade fairs in Germany during the course of the year and convincing confirmation that trade fairs are a highly efficient marketing tool," sums up the trade fair's visibly satisfied commander-in-chief Gerald Böse. "We have all become part of a success story called imm cologne and LivingKitchen. Cologne is the absolute focal point of the furniture industry again, especially when it comes to the business side of things, as well as home to the international kitchen furniture industry," adds the CEO of Koelnmesse. Dirk Uwe Klaas, Chief Executive of the Association of the German Furniture Industry (Verband der Deutschen Möbelindustrie), came to a similar conclusion: "It was by far the best furniture fair we've had in the last 10 years: more visitors, more contracts signed and an excellent mood. An excellent start to the 2011 furniture year for our national furniture industry and a huge success for Koelnmesse."

The unique combination of furnishing and kitchen worlds convinced both trade visitors and the general public. The excellent reception the event met with from visitors during the entire week of the fair ensured beaming faces on the manufacturers' side. 138,000 professional buyers and consumers from 128 countries flocked to the exhibition halls of the imm cologne // LivingKitchen - 38 percent more than attended the previous event (imm cologne 2010). There were significant increases amongst trade visitors, not only from within Germany but above all from abroad, most notably from the Netherlands, France, Italy and Switzerland, as well as Eastern Europe in general and Russia in particular. In addition, more buyers were registered from important export markets like Asia, the Near East and North America. All in all, the trade fair drew increased numbers of visitors from almost all countries. "This result is convincing proof that the diverse activities and high level of commitment we put into attracting national and international visitors were successful and have definitely paid off," says Gerald Böse.

An excellent trade fair for everybody involved

"The fair is meeting with an excellent reception from visitors, the aisles are full, the mood is good, business is booming. Cologne has become a beacon," was the conclusion in the media. Exhibitors took a similar view.

* "Excellent attendance, happy customers, a fantastic mood," said Leo Lübke, CEO of COR Sitzmöbel and interlübke.

* "It was a great fair. The hall was full, the frequency was just like in the old days, all our customers were there and we were able to gain new customers as well, especially from the Netherlands and Belgium. And opening the fair to the public on the Friday - a day earlier than in the past - was the right decision too. And last but not least, we think it's very good to have an international kitchen fair in Cologne again. To cut a long story short: we couldn't be happier and are already looking forward to next year." Gero Walter Frommholz, Managing Partner at Walter Frommholz GmbH & Co. KG.

* The mood was excellent in the new pure textile segment too: "We're very satisfied with the way the fair has gone. In our opinion, the addition of selected international textile brands to the imm cologne in Hall 11 was a great success and met with a very positive reception from visitors. Customers took plenty of time to look around the pure textile section in Hall 11. For us, the trade fair was very definitely worthwhile," says Klaus Scharf, Sales Manager at SAHCO Hesslein GmbH & Co. KG.

* "As far as we are concerned, the imm cologne is the most important trade show and we are very satisfied with the way the fair went this year. We launched our new products very successfully and were delighted to welcome a great many of our trading partners here in Cologne, not only from Germany and Europe but from America and Asia as well. We"re particularly delighted that the entire trade fair has made huge progress in terms of presentation. What's on offer in the halls is very upscale, interesting concepts like pure village or pure textile have been presented very successfully and there were crowds of visitors. That was very inspiring for everybody and the manufacturers were exuding a lot more optimism again." Patrice Bert, CEO of Roset Möbel GmbH.

* "We are very satisfied. You can sense that the mood has improved again. 2010 was already a good year for the sector in Germany and the trade fair has shown that dealers and customers are reacting very positively to the improved situation. Visitor frequency at our stand was really good, especially from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. And the presentation of our new products was definitely a help, of course. In that respect, we consider the results very positive." Andrea Giachetti, Regional Manager, MDF ITALIA S.p.A.

The extremely good mood at the imm cologne was reflected in the halls of the LivingKitchen fair as well.

* "What we've experienced in Cologne in the last few days speaks volumes. I'm particularly delighted that the kitchen has returned to Cologne with such a spectacular sensation," sums up Hans Strothoff, Chairman of the MHK Group.

* "We are extraordinarily pleased with the way the fair has gone and the result. The response from dealers and visitors from Germany and abroad was very positive. And the number of visitors far exceeded our expectations," says Roland Hagenbucher, CEO of Siemens-Electrogeräte GmbH.

The trends

* When it comes to covering fabrics, plain colours dominate. Colourful stripes or abstract graphics are popular choices for accentuation. White remains the megacolour. In the leather segment, thick, barely treated natural leathers with a tactile, inviting character are particularly popular.

* LED lighting technology has made its breakthrough. The majority of wardrobes, wall units, sideboards and display cabinets are being equipped with this energy-saving lighting technology. LED fulfils two functions: brightness and atmosphere.

* Sustainability is playing an increasingly important role in furniture construction too. Wood is becoming more and more popular, not only for storage and kitchen furniture but for comfortable chairs and loungers and as a visible component of sofas. Wood is reclaiming its former status in the furniture sector. One striking development: the many items featuring untreated oak, sometimes even complete with bark.

imm cologne // LivingKitchen in figures:

1,213 companies from 48 countries participated in the imm cologne // LivingKitchen 2011. They included 521 exhibitors and 32 additionally represented companies from Germany as well as 614 exhibitors and 46 additionally represented companies from abroad. Foreign companies accounted for 54 percent of exhibitors.*

* All figures are calculated according to the guidelines of the Society for the Voluntary Control of Fair and Exhibition Statistics (Gesellschaft zur Freiwilligen Kontrolle von Messe- und Ausstellungszahlen, FKM).

SOURCE: imm Cologne

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