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From the Middle Ages to the multichannel era

  • Opinion
  • December 10, 2015
  • Stephen Kurzawski
From the Middle Ages to the multichannel era

The foundation for the world’s biggest consumer-goods fair was established in 1240, when a delegation of Frankfurt’s merchants and councillors travelled to the camp of Emperor Friedrich II in Italy. There, they were granted imperial protection for merchants who attended Frankfurt’s autumn fair. Even then, 775 years ago, Frankfurt was a lively and well-established international venue that, thanks to its location at the crossroads of major trade routes, brought together people from a variety of different countries. The spring fair in Frankfurt was granted the same privilege by Emperor Ludwig IV in 1330.

The roots of modern international consumer-goods fairs like Ambiente and Tendence in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, as well as the Christmasworld, Creativeworld and Paperworld trio, can be traced back to these early fairs. They are the sector’s main platforms for the presentation of new products, and powerful sources of impulses for the market. Messe Frankfurt has been successfully holding offshoots of these trade fairs outside Germany for many years now. With events such as Ambiente India, Beautyworld Japan and more, we provide productive business venues in rapidly growing regions such as Asia and the Middle East.

In the 1990s, Messe Frankfurt was one of the first fair and exhibition companies to begin setting up an international network of foreign subsidiaries to expand our strategic position in important regions. Today, Messe Frankfurt is represented in over 160 countries and, in 2014, organised 121 fairs, more than half of them outside Germany.

Outstanding features of our events include the business-oriented programme o f events for visitors, and our digital services, which are increasingly important for customers. In addition to the Navigator app, which is capable of much more than just helping users to find their way around the exhibition halls. There are, for example, match-making services. Additionally, the productpilot.com business portal provides information about suppliers, wholesalers, service providers and products for a variety of sectors.

In the case of the consumer-goods fairs, the visitor programme ranges from trend presentations, special shows and design awards to focal points on special-interest subjects such as sustainability. We also offer individual solutions in fields of large-scale decorations, hotel and restaurant furnishings and the contract business.

New developments and changes are frequently to be seen for the first time at the trade fairs, which depict the individual markets in their entirety. At these events, traders can be sure of finding concentrated innovation. We also provide numerous events offering insight and information.

If we want to shape the future successfully, we must provide room for new ideas. In accordance with this firmly-held belief, we began promoting the interests of young designers many years ago. At our Ambiente and Tendence trade fairs, up-and-comers have the chance to meet representatives of trade and industry under realistic market conditions and take a decisive step in the direction of greater professionalism. Over the years, the international ‘Talents’ programme has boosted the careers of many designers.

Fairs are places where people meet and make direct contact with each other. This was the case in centuries past and will remain so in the future. The consumer-goods fairs of Messe Frankfurt combine the expertise and innovativeness of our exhibitors and offer experiences for all five senses. Be there and be inspired!

This copy originally appeared in NZ Retail magazine issue 740 October / November 2015.

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