Hot on the heels of an order-busting Autumn Fair International (AFI) 2009, the largest event of the season for the Home and Gift trade has already overtaken last year’s show size, with a major increase in floor space and 25 per cent more companies expected to participate.
AFI 2010 will offer by far the biggest and best selection of new product and market-leading brands available to the trade in the run up to Christmas, with many exhibitors also previewing early Spring ranges for buyers with an eye on future trends.
With five months to the opening of AFI 2010, new and returning exhibitors include: Denby, Silea, Amefa, Present Time, Aroma Home, Cool Trade Winds, RMS International, Diedr. Lindemann Hildesheim and Product Solutions. Smaller, design-led companies and niche brands will once again find a home in the Hall 3 Spotlight area, where exhibitors such as Tot Seat, 2 Little Boys and Gifted by Nature will present their unique new product to buyers.
Managing director Louise Young said: “Autumn Fair exhibitors have already taken more floor space than we went to show with last year. This is a very encouraging indicator of how well the trade has weathered tough economic conditions, and also that our own efforts to support and grow the market are bearing fruit. AFI 2010 is reaping dividends on the back of significant investments. These include spectacular new features, innovative marketing initiatives that ensured attendance rose to 28,686, and a rates freeze that made the shows as cost-effective as possible for many exhibitors.
“These are the only shows in the home and gift market that have seen their attendance figures increase over the past three years, and exhibitors are voting with their feet by coming back in droves. Following on from two very successful shows at Autumn 2009 and Spring 2010, I’m delighted to say that we’re seeing an influx of lapsed and returning customers for the forthcoming events.”
One of the major new attractions of AFI 2010 will be the Accessories at Autumn Catwalk Café in Hall 4. The feature will be created exclusively for Autumn Fair by Rah Productions, which launched the Pandora Catwalk Café to stunning effect at The Jewellery Show during Spring Fair International 2010.
The decision to bring a catwalk to Autumn was taken by show organiser Emap Connect following an exceptional AFI 2009, which attracted over 10,500* buyers of fashion accessories and highlighted the growth potential in this booming market segment.
Elsewhere at the show, visitors to the Kitchen, Dining & Housewares sector can look forward to another edition of the hugely popular Cook Live!, which was trialled at AFI 2009 and then drew packed-out crowds to see world-class celebrity chefs in action throughout SFI 2010.
28,686 buyers attended AF1 2009 – a 2 per cent increase on the previous year –with a combined spending power of £5 billion. £1.2 billion worth of orders are thought to have been spent as a direct result of their visit to the show, and the signs all indicate that AFI 2010 will smash this record.
AFI will once again provide a launch-platform to new companies, helping them get their businesses off to a flying start in time for Christmas 2010. Vernon Kerswell, founder of Manchester-based Extreme Flyers, launched to the trade with great success at AFI 2009.
Speaking towards the end of the show, Vernon commented: “We’ve been rushed off our feet, I haven’t had a moment to spare. I’ve seen multiples and independents and have opened up a huge number of accounts, it’s been amazing. Lots of retailers are here to buy something for Christmas.”
Visitors to the show were just as enthusiastic, with Emma Kearst of Cranberries Gift Shop in Essex, saying. “In terms of trade shows I think this is the best one I’ve been to. It’s certainly better than Paris, much easier to get around, and I’ve found exactly what I want here.”
The Autumn Fair International 2010 website will be launched the week starting May 3 2010. Visit www.autumnfair.com for further information.
* Autumn Fair International takes place on Sunday September 5 – Wednesday September 8 2010, volume hall opens one day early.
* There are eight show sectors at Autumn Fair International: Volume Gift & Home, Kitchen, Dining & Housewares, Home Interiors & Art, Design-led Gifts, Fashion Jewellery & Accessories, Greetings & Stationery, Toys & Gadgets and Gifts.
* Autumns Fair’s attendance figure of 28,636 is ABC audited. Autumn Fair along with Spring Fair are the only Home & Gift events to see visitor numbers rise.
* 10,725* visitors to Autumn Fair 2009 – over a third of the total number of buyers attending the event – said Fashion Accessories and Jewellery were of either primary or secondary interest to them, making this one of the show’s most important sectors. This represents the UK’s largest seasonal gathering of accessories buyers.