Sustainability determines Cologne's furniture fair

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Kölnmesse/VDM/BVDM/Fordaq
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The international furniture fair in Cologne attracted around 128,000 visitors from January 13th to 19th. That means the imm cologne - contrary to the trend of other spring trade fairs in the industry - achieved an increase in visitors compared to the comparable event in 2018 (125,000 visitors), says Kölnmesse. Around 50% of the 82,000 trade visitors (2018: 80,704) came from abroad. Pleasingly many of them work for top international retail chains and e-commerce giants. For the exhibitors, the imm cologne was an economically successful trade fair with which the industry had a good start to the 2020 furniture year, the Association of the German Furniture Industry (VDM) confirms. The strongest visitor countries were the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and France: The fair saw the largest increase in visitors from Switzerland (+ 18%), the Netherlands (+ 11%) and Belgium (+ 10%). Europe as a whole grew by 3.8%. Significantly more visitors also came from North America (+ 14.1%). As a result of the trade dispute with the USA, China consolidated at a high level with around 3,000 visitors, the organizers inform.

VDM anticipates stable to increasing demand in 2020
The Germans are planning some furniture investments in 2020, as the VDM found out. 11.5 million people want new living room furniture, 10.1 million people want to redesign the bedroom and 7 million people plan to invest in a new kitchen. Single households across all segments have the greatest desire to purchase furniture, followed by four-person households. But not only the German market is important for the local furniture industry. The association also wants to be successful in the export business with furniture "Made in Germany". The market share of German furniture manufacturers is currently the highest in the European core countries: in Austria it is 38%, in Switzerland 34%, in the Netherlands 16% and in France 13%. However, the markets outside of Europe still offer plenty of untapped potential. In 2020 the VDM expects a stable, if not slightly increasing, industry turnover. In order to benefit from this prospect, more and more manufacturers are relying on being able to visualize their furniture in the desired arrangement. The trade association for furniture and kitchens is also noticing a trend in stationary retailing to become more involved online.

Solid wood benefits from the sustainability hype
More and more people are developing a strong environmental awareness, which is also noticeable when it comes to furnishing preferences. They want natural materials that have been obtained regionally and are - as an optimum - recycled - like pallets - or that are reusable. The exhibitors at imm were very happy to meet this request. In this way, production residues with the right, trendy designer become a trendy wall hook. Naturalness and sustainability might have been the most used words in Cologne during the trade fair week. The special area Future Interiors, which focused on sustainability and other advantages of furniture from Germany, attracted many visitors. Solid wood furniture manufacturers such as Decker and Wimmer, whose products were presented, were also found here. However, other companies, such as InCasa, were also unable to complain about insufficient visitors in other halls. Wood, especially solid and regional, meets the spirit of the times and is in high demand. The product line with bark accents from Hartmann was therefore more than an eye-catcher. To top it off, the company has been planting a tree for every purchase since 2019 - including precise coordinates. This made the hearts beat faster not only on the public days.

Timeless through purism
A piece of furniture is more sustainable if it does not serve a current design trend, but is moreso still visually convincing in 30 years. Many booths were accordingly puristic. The wood - in addition to the dominant oak, you could also see ash and walnut, occasionally maple, elm, larch and mango - sometimes glass, sometimes a metal or marble. But one saw strikingly often models that looked like they were carved from a trunk, for example with milled handles in the wood. There were real chunks of solid wood, but also more delicate examples. The visual appearance ranged from harmonious to rustic. There were also blue and earth tones.

Luxurious multifunctionality
The reserved look of high-quality materials and the individuality of a natural product brings a piece of luxury into your own four walls with every new piece of furniture. It doesn't end with the look, but continues in comfort and practical multifunctionality. The new bedroom range from Voglauer, for example, even has an elegant tie organizer. A full-walled wardrobe also houses a vanity with a mirror. And the dining room table comes with a matching trivet. Details convince. Other manufacturers let the element of surprise work for them: Everyone has probably covered a sofa bed before. The tablebed of a Finnish company is anything but ordinary. However, since the increasingly urban person is getting smaller and more moveable furniture, the dining / work / game table may soon be the only large piece of furniture next to the bed anyway.

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