From May 4-7, 2021, international trade fair for home and contract textiles, Heimtextil joins forces with Techtextil and Texprocess to bring together leading representatives of industry, trade, design, science and research at the same time to Frankfurt/Germany. Olaf Schmidt, Vice President Textiles & Textile Technologies of Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH, Frankfurt, offers insights into the current planning status and the outlook for the trade-fair trio.
This year, we all experienced a previously unknown set of circumstances with unpredictable developments. None of us foresaw the consequences and the duration of the pandemic. And we are still at the point where we do not know when we will be able to draw up reliable plans again. Nevertheless, there is good reason to be optimistic. Towards the end of the summer, Germany’s fair and exhibition industry was given the go-ahead to hold fairs again – not long before the second wave hit us. In view of this, we are relieved that we decided at an early stage to postpone the next Heimtextil from January until May 2021. For, although we are still far removed from having complete planning certainty, we are tackling the projects for Heimtextil, Techtextil and Texprocess 2021 with confidence – in the hope that the current, second lockdown and the no-less challenging winter months ahead of us will be followed next spring by an improvement in the corona situation. Looking towards Asia also gives us ground for optimism. There, in mid-October, Messe Frankfurt began holding fairs with up to 150,000 participants. Despite the fact that the way China has handled the virus is not comparable with the European approach, we nevertheless see the situation there as encouraging. All the more so because we firmly believe that social distancing and an efficient supply of fresh air is much easier to regulate in exhibition halls than, for example, in a shopping center. Moreover, we have prepared our hygiene and safety concept very thoroughly over the past months. Naturally, we remain in close contact with the appropriate authorities and our exhibitors, the vast majority of whom want to see the sector getting together in the near future. Accordingly, we are working flat out on holding our fairs safely in 2021.
What makes you confident that the trade-fair trio of Heimtextil, Techtextil and Texprocess can be held successfully in May 2021?
From Germany’s home-textile manufacturers, furnishing specialists and retailers, we know that the order books are well filled at the moment. People were unable to travel much in 2020 and thus invested more in their homes.
How do you see the mood on the industry and trade sides, and what has been the exhibitor response to date?
Nonwoven manufacturers achieved a five percent increase in sales with the production of face masks and hygiene articles. Overall, however, sales of technical textiles fell for the first time after many years of developing in a positive direction. According to the IVGT textile association, revenues were down by approx. 13 % between January and September, this year, compared to the same period in 2019.
Following a collapse in sales in the 2nd quarter of this year, exports of textile machines from Germany are now increasingly stable. According to VDMA Textile Care, Fabric and Leather Technologies, Germany’s machine and plant manufacturers noted a drop of approx. 16 % in exports to the EU 27 between January and September compared to the previous year. However, this is set to improve over the course of the year.
We have heard that many companies are hoping for a trade fair and personal encounters with customers and partners in the near future, to give their businesses an additional boost. At present, around 1,600 companies have said they are interested in exhibiting at the next Heimtextil. Techtextil and Texprocess can also boast very good registration figures with over 85 and 65 % respectively of the exhibition space at previous events already having been reserved.
In September, we decided to postpone Heimtextil from January to May, next year, and to hold it concurrently with Techtextil and Texprocess. In addition to the significantly improved prospects of success given by the later dates, holding the 3 trade fairs in parallel offers valuable synergistic effects for many participants, as well as the unique chance to discover large parts of the textile value chain at the same time and place – from fibers and yarns, via functional textiles and production and finishing processes, to finished products for a variety of applications, especially textile interior furnishings.
What are the benefits for exhibitors and visitors of holding the three trade fairs – Heimtextil, Techtextil and Texprocess – concurrently on this one occasion?
Thanks to the close proximity to manufacturers of innovative technical textiles and nonwovens at Techtextil, Heimtextil exhibitors and visitors have the opportunity to meet potential partners from a new area of business. From the point of view of many Heimtextil participants, the machines and new technologies for processing textile and flexible materials to be seen at Texprocess are a field of considerable interest. Specifically, this means that product designers, buyers or textile engineers from exhibiting companies at Heimtextil can also make business contacts at Techtextil and Texprocess, and discover the latest products on the market. Moreover, the presence of retailers, furnishing specialists, interior architects, architects, designers, materials experts from research and development and machine and technology specialists means that the participants of all 3 events will receive impulses from sectors that are rarely to be found all together at the same venue.
We hope very much that the situation will improve over the winter months and, in particular, that the travel restrictions can be relaxed. Under these circumstances, we are confident that, with our carefully prepared hygiene and safety concept, we will be able to hold a safe and highly successful trio of fairs.