With 35,000 international visitors and 1,400 exhibitors from 60 countries, Deutsche Messe records Domotex 2020 as a success. 60% of the visitors, who came to Hanover between January 10th and 13th 2020, were from other European countries, 25% from Asia, 10% from America. Overall, their number was about 10,000 smaller than in 2018 and therefore not very likely to be a record. With a decision-making percentage of 90%, however, it is qualitatively satisfactory for many exhibitors, as the organizer reports. The companies surveyed by Fordaq provided a mixed picture of the visitor frequency and relevance of the fair. The spectrum ranges - logically depending on the product range, target group and own trade fair marketing - from doubts about a future return and possible concentration on the BAU in Munich up to a long-term party. Some of the exhibitors from the German-speaking countries said that those who sold to Europe and not to Asia were out of place. Also the added value of the many new regional editions of the fair was questioned. Floor big players like HARO, MeisterWerke, Kährs and Parador didn't show up. Other exhibitors, such as machine builder Homag and Jöst or the we are wood Holzagentur could not complain. "For us there is no better trade fair in Europe for range," Bernhard ter Hürne also said in an interview. In addition to the new, moisture-protecting surface sealing made of corundum resin, his company starts the new decade with various strategic goals. Exports are to be stepped up and numerous investments are being made in digitalization as well as research and development.
European parquet market slightly grew
The European parquet market was also ambivalent in 2019. According to the European Federation of the Parquet Industry (FEP), total demand increased slightly - after the slump in the previous year. In addition to the largest market - Germany - there was also an increase in Austria, France, Poland and Spain. On the other hand, people in Italy, Switzerland and the Nordic countries were less eager to parquet. In 2019, the trade dispute between the USA and China joined the competition with the vinyl industry as a challenge. However, the European Green Deal gives the parquet association a hopeful look at the current year. More precise figures will be announced at the 45th Parquet Congress on June 11th and 12th in Hamburg.
Laminate flooring sales declining
Unfortunately, the European Laminate Flooring Association (EPLF) was unable to report an upward trend. Global sales of European manufacturers decreased by 1.5% in 2019 compared to the previous year - in favor of design flooring. 446.6 million m2 were sold. The Western European market declined by 2% to 218.8 million m2. Turkey showed a particularly downward trend with -50% to 14 million m2. Sales in Germany fell by 4.4% to 49.7 million m2. Deliveries to the UK, however, increased by 9% to 32.6 million m2. At 40 million m2, North America went almost 10% less than in 2018. Asia and Latin America also declined slightly. The only growth was in Eastern Europe by a good 5% to 135 million m2. The main drivers here were Russia (+ 11.5% to 43.8 million m2), Poland (+ 6.1% to 31.2 million m2) and the Ukraine (+ 33% to 10.1 million m2).
Everyone advertises with sustainability
With the main theme ATMYSPHERE, which focused on sustainability, naturalness and well-being, wooden floors definitely scored points. With the help of Italian products, the topics "air purification", "water resistance", "sound insulation", "light management" and "touch sensitivity" were explained. In other words, wooden floors are functional, well-being weapons for indoor and outdoor use and an indispensable design tool - both visually and for all other senses - and also environmentally friendly. But various manufacturers of design flooring, WPC and the carpet industry also jumped on this train. They advertised with anti-allergic runners and pure jute carpets as well as with vinyl products for which no tree needs to die. Special mention should be made of the Chinese vinyl flooring giant HUALI, which had its own brand Ebenbild in its luggage for its first Domotex appearance. The exclusive vinyl floor is intended to provide comfort and included sound insulation - even in the commercial sector - and scores according to the manufacturer's information with its sustainability and lack of harmful substances. On the other hand, the Leitl booth held strong: "We hate plastic!" emblazoned on the wall covered with a kind of veneer wallpaper. With the easy-to-attach and detachable stick2wood wall covering for the DIY division, the Austrian family-owned company wants to boost veneer sales on new paths and has met plenty of interest - presumably also because one tree is planted for each package sold.
Oak trend continues
No radical turnaround in terms of wood species could be seen at the Domotex. Oak in all shapes, colors, designs, ages, levels of rusticity - oak herringbone optics and pictures of wooden planks with plenty of branches were also available in the carpet halls. Occasionally, walnut, chestnut and ash as well as teak and pitch pine were found in Hanover. Swiss Krono has a number of new oak variants to present - from warm to cool, from harmonious to high-contrast, from friendly bright to charming dark. Among the 46 new decors, there were also some tiles that continue the loft trend. Windmöller completely committed itself to being a passionate oak fan. The company took the Domotex as the framework for a true floor festival. "Oak forever!" shouted the wineo 500 laminate flooring line with 25 decors from light and calm to dark and full of character. The sturdy Pureline organic floor made from rapeseed and castor oil as well as chalk was also staged under the motto "Flooring for Future". With "Sound of Silence" the full-service provider put the PU underlay mats "silentRigid" in the right light.
Naturalness precludes perfection
At the craft meeting point, Karsten Krause from the IHK Kiel pointed out that there is an urgent need to educate consumers that the naturalness so strongly desired in the floor area simply cannot be combibed with perfection in terms of lightfastness. With floor-to-ceiling windows, he advised appropriate advice. UV protective films can help - and avoid complaints.
Digital visualization as a selling point
So that customers can choose a floor, it is becoming increasingly important online and in shops to present their own products in advance in the later context. FN Neuhhofer presented the company's own solution, the "FN Smart eShop". The development makes it possible to design floors, skirting boards and wall panels on a PC, tablet or smartphone and to initiate production. Individuality meets just-in-time production. Esign Software also offered similar solutions for the industry at its own stand. The display options range here to kitchen worktops and doors. The well-attended stand spoke for itself.