The leading international trade fair for the leather goods industry, ILM (Internationale Lederwaren Messe), ended in Offenbach on Monday. For three days (February 29 to March 2) everything revolved around bags and luggage in the halls of the Offenbach trade fair.
But there was one dominant topic that had a significant impact on the gathering. Due to the coronavirus, it was not clear until the very end whether the fair would actually take place. Shortly before the start of the event, the city health authorities gave the go-ahead. Arnd Hinrich Kappe, managing director of Messe Offenbach, said, "The decision to hold the trade fair was taken on an objective level and in close cooperation with the municipal health authorities.”
High safety requirements, including admission restrictions for exhibitors and visitors from particularly high-risk areas, as well as additional hygiene measures ensured greater safety in the halls. As a precautionary measure, hygiene measures for heavily frequented areas such as entrances, door handles, etc. were increased even further. Additional disinfectant dispensers were also installed on the grounds.
But even these initiatives could not change the fact that ILM had to cope with a drop in visitors of around 41%. Buyers from big (online) companies such as Zalando or Limango in particular, but also smaller retailers from Switzerland, Italy, Austria and the Netherlands, stayed away.
Mario Grahe, head of sales at Bree, said, “50% of our customers have cancelled their appointments.”
Sebastian Baumann, sales coordinator at Horizn Studios, noted: “The ILM is an important trade fair for us because it is the only trade fair we are represented at. Of course, it is a great pity when an incident such as the coronavirus has such a far-reaching effect. But we make the best of it. We had some good talks, but of course we are noticing a considerable decrease in the number of visitors.”
Stephan Reinig of Harvest Label added, “I was satisfied with Saturday, there were good conversations with the customers, but on Sunday and Monday it has already dropped off quite a bit and now you can see that the aisles are empty.”
The Cologne company Fond of Bags and also Eastpak came on Friday, set everything up and then decided to pack everything up again and leave. ILM received around 20 short-term cancellations from exhibitors including brands such as Peter Kaiser, Zwei, Knomo and Gabol.
Even though the coronavirus overshadowed the trade show, none of the exhibitors questioned regretted their participation in it. Many were also confident about deliveries from the Far East. Supply bottlenecks would not yet be noticeable at this point and the hope that the situation will ease up a bit in the coming weeks is there.
Despite all the coronavirus headlines, this issue of ILM once again revealed many trends. Here is our selection for you:
BLACK IN ALL VARIATIONS
THE SMALLER THE BETTER
THE TOPSELLER: ROLL-TOP BAG