Spring Fair International, organised by i2i Events, opened on February 3rd 2013 at the NEC and welcomed over 68,116* visitor’s, including more than 5,000 international buyers looking to export British goods abroad – with overall visitor numbers up 6% on last year. Buyers attended from leading independent retailers and all of the UK’s major stores including Selfridges, House of Fraser, John Lewis, Hamleys, Harrods, Liberty, Tesco and Marks & Spencer were well represented.
Spring Fair offered Europe’s largest presentation of trend-driven gift products to a market that is hungry for newness and originality. Around 300,000 new launches were showcased by 3,000 exhibitors operating across 13 different market sectors.
The signs of economic recovery were indicated by the Spring Fair Retail Barometer, the show’s own major industry survey, which revealed that 82% of retailers are forecasting growth in 2013 and an improvement in consumer confidence.
The positive atmosphere at the show bodes well for the retail trade in 2013 and beyond, demonstrating the resilience of our nation’s shop keepers and their determination to breathe new life into the economy in the year ahead.
Over £2 billion of business is forecast to be generated by companies who participated at Spring Fair, making it one of the most important retail trade shows on the international calendar. As well as being Europe’s premier destination for sourcing new gift products, the show offered buyers an unrivalled content programme across eight seminar theatres, demo areas and full-scale catwalks. Household names Kirstie Allsopp, Sophie Conran, Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen and Delia Smith rubbed shoulders with Shadow Small Business Minister, Toby Perkins MP, trend experts from WGSN, Pantone and Trend Bible at the show.
Spring Fair is leading the way in ecommerce supporting retailers in making the transition from bricks to clicks. The ecommerce theatre was packed every day with retailers thirsty for answers to all of their of e-retail questions, from building online start-ups through to multichannel retailing and developing an e-commerce strategy. Key industry figures offered expert technical guidance on how retailers can harness the web to grow their business.
Commenting on this year’s fair, Sarah Mclaughlin, Portfolio Director of Spring Fair International, said: “We are delighted that so many retailers attended this year’s Spring Fair and that they were placing such healthy orders with exhibitors. There was a real emphasis on innovation and creativity throughout the show, including the new Design Lab area which provided buyers with a new hot bed of creative talent.”
“With so many British companies exhibiting, it was fantastic to see the strength of their product, something that was unilaterally praised by the buyers in attendance from across the globe. We hope that the optimism of the sector observed at Spring Fair is a true reflection of the performance of the high street over the year to come.”
Exhibitor and visitor feedback indicated that this was an exceptional show, particularly given the tough retail environment and challenging economic conditions. The atmosphere was buoyant and upbeat throughout the week as visitors turned up early in the mood for buying.
Tom Sykes, general manager for major giftware supplier Xystos commented: “We have seen a phenomenal number of international buyers from Africa, Europe and Australia. In terms of new leads, it continues to amaze me how many we are getting which translate into good orders.”
Mary Liz from US store Leon and Lula, who participated in the hosted buyers programme, said: “The Spring Fair was terrific! It was big, it was beautiful and, most important of all, we found several new lines that will be good for our store. We will certainly be back.”
The next edition of Spring Fair International will take place from February 2 – 6 2014.