Dates: January 11 to 14
Square footage: 160,000 square meters (gross)
Exhibitors: 1,350, representing 57 countries
Visitors: 45,000, representing 80 countries
• Retail buyers, 35%
• Wholesale buyers, 25%
• Skilled tradesmen, 25%
• Home furnishings retailers, A&D and others, 15%
Countries most represented: Germany, Turkey, U.K., the Netherlands, U.S., Italy
The number of LVT producers exhibiting at Domotex increased dramatically this year, with over 50 stands dedicated to the category. This confirms that LVT’s popularity is increasing worldwide, as we have seen in the States. U.S. based LVT manufacturers exhibiting at the show included Bolyu, Earthwerks and Metroflor, which had cubes across the fairgrounds introducing its new Aspecta brand, a colorful commercial dry-back product. Tarkett and IVC, which have foreign based headquarters and a large presence in the U.S., were also well represented at the show.
In addition to the increased capacity that will result from all the new U.S. based LVT manufacturing—from Mannington, Armstrong, IVC, Shaw and eventually Mohawk—a billion square feet of additional LVT capacity is coming on line in Asia as well, so clearly the world is anticipating a significant and increasing demand for LVT.
Hardwood and Laminate
Hardwood and laminate were the central focus for much of the promotional hype of this year’s Domotex, as the show repeated the Wood Flooring Summit theme that it debuted in 2012. There was considerably more engineered hardwood than solid, which follows the trend in Europe. And manufacturer Paradon introduced an interesting product with contrasting wooden shapes.
Though laminate is losing marketshare here in the U.S., that’s not the case abroad, where firms are producing more authentic-looking laminates that are wider and longer with realistic character markings. In fact, the European Laminate Trade Association reports 0.7% growth in the category.
The Kronotex Group, the world’s largest laminate producer, was represented at the show, as well as Kaindl and Lamett, which had several new visuals that could breath new life into the category—even here in the States.
This is the year, it seems, that marks the penetration of both soft fiber (low DPF) and polyester into the European market. However, that market’s adoption of residential PET is still nowhere near to what it is in the U.S., where it accounts for an estimated 40% share. That may be due, in part, to the fact that nylon, called polyamide in Europe, has a lower raw material cost, so the pricing window between polyester and nylon is smaller. Aquafil is the biggest independent supplier of nylon 6 in Europe. And just as we see in the U.S., wall-to-wall carpet is also on a downward trend throughout Europe.
European produced carpet is different from U.S. produced. The backing is thicker, the face thinner and the palette more colorful. That is one reason that U.S. carpet manufacturers exhibit at Domotex; they are offering a product much different from what is produced in that part of the world.
There were several interesting novelties at the show. Germany based Paradon had a click modular carpet, and another firm was introducing a turf product with fiber the color of dead grass tufted in to increase the realism.
U.S. based exhibitors focusing on selling commercial carpet were Masland, Bolyu and Mannington, and Mohawk’s brand was being represented in the Lano exhibit. On the equipment and fiber side, Pharr, Dupont and Aquafil were also exhibiting.
A total of seven separate buildings are devoted to area rugs from around the world. There was an increase in machine-made area rugs at this year’s Domotex, and the rumor among attendees was that the shag look is ebbing worldwide. Oriental Weavers exhibited. However, Mohawk Home, which exhibited last year, was absent this year.
THE FOUNDING OF DEUTSCHE MESSE
Immediately after World War II, Germany was characterized by physical devastation, industrial ruin and chronic food shortages. Believing that the only way for Germany to become economically self-reliant again would be through the exportation of its own goods, the British military government decreed that the Germans were to organize a trade fair from August 18 to September 7, 1947 in order to show the world the kind of economic revival that entrepreneurs, workers and politicians were capable of jointly creating. As a result, the Deutsche Messe AG, which translates to German Trade Fair, was founded on August 16, 1947.
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