Tuesday, December 1, 2009

'Tis the Season.... for Floor Covering Shows

Jim Gould, President Floor Covering Institute"'Tis the season" as they say... but I'm talking about floor covering shows. The three largest floor covering trade shows in the world are coming up over the next three months.

Whether you are a seasoned attendee or you have never attended, I highly recommend that you consider going to at least one of these shows. I go to all of them every year. They play a key role in keeping abreast of product, trends and people and inevitably provide inspiration for a host of ideas, not to mention an important opportunity to discuss important issues from a global perspective.

Floor covering is a global industry and all of your local markets are influenced by what can be seen and shared at these shows.

The shows are not really interchangeable. In other words, even though they are all about flooring, Surfaces isn't like Domotex and Domotex Asia isn't like Domotex Europe. But each one provides a unique opportunity to improve your knowledge of product and trends as well as increase your network base, expand your perspectives and find new opportunities.

Here is a review of the top three.


Domotex Hannover logo

Domotex Hannover - January 16-19, 2010
Hannover, Germany

This is the largest floor covering show in the world with 1.400 exhibitors from around the world showing every conceivable type of product, many of which have never been seen in the U.S. before, mainly because there are many companies who do not know how or have not yet decided to enter the U.S. market. A good example is Pergo - this is where I first saw Pergo back in the early 1990s.

In addition to an indescribable amount of products, services and tools to check out there are many other opportunities available during the show. For example since I am an advisor to Domotex Hannover, this year I will organize local visits to retail stores around Hannover so you can better understand how flooring reaches consumers in this market. As David Wootton pointed out in his post Flooring May be Global but the Markets are Local, this is important information to know about international markets.

For people interested in expanding their business into Europe we've also arranged for Catherine Mayer of the U.S. Commercial Service to set up pre-arranged meetings with potential partners in Germany, or you can meet with Catherine herself to discuss your needs.

The size of the show is immense and covers 13 halls. Last year they had 1,400 exhibitors and 38,00o visitors. Domotex Hannover maintains an active blog site - to which I contribute - with a lot of very good information, even travel tips.


Surfaces logo

- February 2-4, 2010
Las Vegas, Nevada

Surfaces is of course the U.S. floor covering show and many of you attend this important event each year to see the latest products, services, tools and technologies. Primarily populated by U.S. flooring manufacturers there is still a good showing of foreign manufacturers who exhibit, along with a few distributors and associations. It is a very important way to see trends in the U.S. market and keep in touch with people in the industry. The show is attended by retailers, distributors, architects, designers, installers and manufacturers; it's a valuable networking tool.

Surfaces is well known for its quality education program and this year is no different. Whatever your topic of interest you'll probably find it available during the education seminars that run daily throughout the show. This year there are over 40 sessions. Four members of the Floor Covering Institute consulting team will be among those presenting. You can check out our schedule and topics here.

Surfaces show last year was about 370,000 square feet in physical size and was attended by approximately 24,000 visitors and 700 exhibitors. You can register here and discounted admission is available now.


Domotex asia/CHINAFLOOR - March 23-25, 2010

This event, the largest in Asia, is a sister even to Domotex Hannover, and is by far the best way to introduce yourself to the Asian market, source products and learn about the rapidly growing opportunities for export to China. Yes, I did say exports to China. You read more about why China may be a good export opportunity by reading China's Economy and Construction Boom Create Huge Floor Covering Potential

I go to this event every year and I always learn new things, see new products and meet new people that add immeasurably to my knowledge base. For the last three years Domotex Asia has held the Sino-US-Europe World Flooring Summit simultaneously with the exhibition where representatives of world-renowned flooring associations and companies hold in-depth discussions about critical topics of the day. Last year one of those hot topics was the Lacey Act which prompted me to write the research article Continuing Wood Trade Under the Lacey Act Amendments. This year the summit has been renamed to the World Flooring Forum which more aptly acknowledges the global complexities of the issues affecting every floor covering market and company today - topics such as sustainability and economics.

This is a very large show that will take some time to see. Last year Domotex asia/CHINAFLOOR covered 500,000 square feet, had nearly 1.000 exhibitors from 38 countries and was attended by approximately 37,000 visitors. The U.S. is the second largest non-Asian exhibiting country and I know Armstrong will be there this year.

Registration for visitors is free through December 31st and general registration runs through March 22nd. Exhibitors and visitors alike can find more information at the Domotex asia website but if you need more help shoot me an email and I'll direct you to the right person.

If you have trouble making a choice or just want to ask a few questions you can contact me and I'll be happy to answer your questions.



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