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13.04.2021

KPMG Study in Cooperation with EHI: Fashion 2030

For years now, fashion retail has been able to show a moderate but steady growth in sales. However, the share of sales accounted for by online retail is becoming significantly stronger, and consequently that of stationary retail is becoming weaker. In just 10 years, online fashion retail will have a market share as high as that of local fashion stores, according to one of the findings of the study "Fashion 2030 - Seeing what fashion will be tomorrow" by KPMG in cooperation with EHI. "For retailers, the decline in sales in the stationary sector means that they have to reduce their stationary areas," says Marco Atzberger, Managing Director of EHI. A dilemma, because the majority of customers prefer to shop in their local fashion store, despite all the online alternatives.

For years now, fashion retail has been able to show a moderate but steady growth in sales. However, the share of sales accounted for by online retail is becoming significantly stronger, and consequently that of stationary retail is becoming weaker. In just 10 years, online fashion retail will have a market share as high as that of local fashion stores, according to one of the findings of the study "Fashion 2030 - Seeing what fashion will be tomorrow" by KPMG in cooperation with EHI. "For retailers, the decline in sales in the stationary sector means that they have to reduce their stationary areas," says Marco Atzberger, Managing Director of EHI. A dilemma, because the majority of customers prefer to shop in their local fashion store, despite all the online alternatives.

Textiles, media and electrical goods are currently the categories most frequently purchased online. Consumers believe that online shopping in these categories will also be particularly attractive in the future, although there is also considerable interest in online purchasing of furniture, drugstore and hardware store products.

With sales of 16.5 billion euros, online fashion retail already accounts for 25 percent of total fashion sales, which were around 66 billion euros in 2020. The experts at KPMG and EHI predict that this share will double in the next ten years. The forecasted annual sales of 79.2 billion euros in 2030 are to be divided equally between online and stationary stores. In order to position itself correctly here, the textile trade is facing strategic changes in terms of sustainability and digitization in addition to reductions in retail space. Concepts such as circular economy (recycling) or re-commerce (second-hand) are just as much part of the customer's demands as a smooth (channel-independent) shopping experience or a targeted customer approach.

Online information sources are becoming increasingly important for customers. However, browsing in stores continues to be the main source of information when shopping. One exception, however, is electrical goods - the independent opinion of reviews is the most important source of information here.

Reductions in retail space
As the market share of online fashion retail is becoming increasingly stronger than that of the overall fashion market, there will be a scissor effect for the stationary clothing retail – unless decisive parameters such as store rents change. Permanently reducing the share of fixed costs in the stationary sector can lead to a harmonization of both sales channels and prevent massive cannibalization effects, according to the authors of the study. The reduction in retail space will have the most severe impact on department stores and multi-story formats. Interviews with retail experts show that the retail expects a reduction in space of around 50 percent by 2030 and anticipates shrinkages of up to 70 percent at peak times. However, the current crisis also offers fashion retailers a greater choice of appealing rental spaces and therefore the opportunity to position themselves for the future by strategically streamlining their own store networks, adapting their space and differentiating their concepts to suit their target customers - in combination with smart digital solutions.

Multi-channel approaches are continuing to grow. On the one hand, stationary retailers will increasingly enter the online market; on the other hand, it can be observed that the opening of their own local stores by previously online-only retailers is on the rise.

Shopping experience
For a successful shopping experience, the city centers must be vibrant as well as attractive and should offer entertainment. All of this requires cooperation between all of the local players involved and collaboration with conceptually oriented urban development. To increase the individual customer loyalty and build real trust, fashion retailers must invest more in emotionality and use IT solutions. Whether in-store or online, customers want a targeted and smooth shopping experience, which for retailers means cleverly linking the systems. Availability and finding clothes in the right size also play a significant role in the stationary fashion retail. 42 percent of customers say that they would shop more often in stores, if these factors were guaranteed.

Already today, a concrete shortage of qualified personnel can be observed in certain regions and areas of responsibility. This is likely to become even more severe in the future. The retail’s own qualification measures will increase, and the industry's image will have to be improved.

Despite all technological support, the human being remains the most important factor in retailing - 88 percent agree on this. For 60 percent of consumers, encounters with people in a retail store are becoming increasingly important.

Sustainability
For almost half of the consumers surveyed (46 percent), sustainability is already a worthwhile concept today. This also includes re-commerce and second-hand. 34 percent of customers already buy used clothing, and another 28 percent can imagine doing so. In terms of occasions, a large proportion can also imagine renting clothing. The second-hand clothing trend has the potential to claim a market share of up to 20 percent in the next ten years and therefore to become a significant market segment in fashion retail.

In addition to the sustainability debate, the main factors driving this trend are the digitalization of the "second-hand store around the corner" and the large online fashion platforms that are discovering this market for themselves and making consumers increasingly aware of the models of temporary use.

Laws and regulations as well as increasing pressure from stakeholders have contributed to the growing importance of sustainability. However, the consumer goods sector attaches greater importance than other sectors to the aspect of being able to achieve a reputational gain through a sustainability strategy.

When it comes to the circular economy or rather the recycling of raw materials from used clothing, many companies are already involved in non-profit initiatives and research projects to develop the relevant technologies. In 2030, also due to legal initiatives, many clothing items will probably be made from recycled textile raw materials or fibers, which would substantially shorten the supply chains. "Automated fiber recovery, increasing unit labor costs in the Far East and fewer used textiles, this is the starting point for a perspective revival of textile production in countries close to Europe as well as in Europe itself," says Stephan Fetsch, Head of Retail EMA at KPMG. Although circular economy does not yet play a major role due to the current limited availability, it shows great potential: 28 percent have already purchased recycled textiles, and over 50 percent are positive about it.

Customers believe that retailers and manufacturers are responsible for sustainability. They, on the other hand, would like consumers to initiate the upswing of re-commerce by changing their behavior. New compliance guidelines will have an accelerating effect on the development of the re-commerce market.

Source:

(Studies; KPMG/EHI or rather KPMG):
- Fashion 2030: Sehen, was morgen Mode ist (Seeing what fashion will be tomorrow - only available in German)
- CONSUMER MARKETS: Trends in Handel 2020 (Trends in Retail 2020 - only available in German)

(c) pixabay
02.03.2021

Study on Purchasing Behavior during the Corona Crisis in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Sweden

Rogator / exeo investigate for the second time the purchasing behavior during the Corona crisis in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Sweden ("OpinionTRAIN") and presented the results:

Rogator / exeo investigate for the second time the purchasing behavior during the Corona crisis in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Sweden ("OpinionTRAIN") and presented the results:

  • Declining frequency of visits to discounters and more visits to hypermarkets
  • Significant shift in consumer behavior: More spending on groceries
  • Dynamic pricing is rejected by consumers
  • Online retail: The crisis winner (especially among younger consumers)

Supermarkets and hypermarkets have benefited from the Corona crisis in multiple ways. Firstly, the spending on groceries by German households has risen significantly (more home office, less traveling, more time spent with family and on cooking). Secondly, in 2020, the sales market share of discounters fell by around 1 percentage point to 42.1%, while full-range retailers gained 1.5 percentage points (to 34.8% market share).

“With the continuously growing competition and the existing distribution struggles, it is not surprising if the news on the grocery trade increasingly contain the tenor price war again in the new year. The increase in VAT at the beginning of the year has speeded up the price competition”, says Johannes Hercher, CEO of Rogator AG and co-author of the OpinionTRAIN study

An overview of the results:

Declining frequency of visits to discounters and more visits to hypermarkets
While shopping in all four countries surveyed most frequently took place in supermarkets in the past 2 months (Visits in the past 2 months: Germany 81%, Austria 86%, Switzerland 79%, and Sweden 79%), Germany has the highest percentage of respondents (71%), compared to other countries, who purchased groceries at discounters. Against all expectations, the leading discounters such as Aldi and Lidl have performed relatively worse than the full-range retailers during the Corona crisis. Compared to the first data collection (Apr./May2020), the share of consumers with purchases in discounters in Germany decreased from 74% to currently 71%, the share of shoppers in supermarkets remained unchanged (81%), and the consumer rate for hypermarkets (e.g. Real, Kaufland) increased significantly (from 34% to 44%). While especially older consumers are staying more loyal to the discounter, the consumer rate in the <30 age group is particularly low at 53%. Instead, online grocery shopping shows a high relevance among younger consumers. Almost one in three respondents said, that they had ordered groceries online in the past 2 months.

Significant shift in consumer behavior: More spending on groceries
The crisis situation is leading to massive changes in purchasing behavior. In almost all types of grocery shops, the frequency of visits has decreased, except for online shopping and organic food stores. The reaction patterns of the consumers are becoming increasingly entrenched. As already observed in Apr./May 2020, consumers are going less frequently to grocery stores, but are purchasing more items per visit. In many cases, the discounters do not meet the consumers' need for complete purchases. This is bitter in many respects. In Germany, for example, around a quarter of respondents say, that their spending on food increased during the Corona crisis (5 % are assuming a decrease), while this is the exact opposite (8% increase and 21% decrease in expenses) for clothing (textile, without sports). These figures reflect a massive shift in consumption. This is an indicator that Corona has also changed the statistical market basket. For 2020, the inflation rate for groceries is reported at 2.4%. In this case, most of the change in spending habits can be explained by a quantity effect.

Dynamic pricing is rejected by consumers
Since price flexibility is being discussed in retail as the new "silver bullet to increase margins," the OpinionTRAIN study took a closer look at consumers' views on dynamic pricing ("when demand goes up, the price goes up; when demand goes down, the price goes down"). Results: The consumers' enthusiasm for dynamic pricing in retailing is rather limited. This is not a German phenomenon. In all four countries, the rejection of dynamic pricing is greater than the approval. For retail companies, the "total rejection" segment presents a major threat in particular. This group includes about one-third of consumers and rejects flexible pricing in all 20 product categories presented. Many consumers clearly long for continuity, especially in times of significant changes in terms of retail prices. Although consumers who have already had experience of dynamic pricing (prices can change every hour) in online retailing are more relaxed about the issue, the implementation of dynamic pricing nevertheless involves a significant risk of damage to the customer relationship and a lasting loss of trust.

Online retail: The crisis winner (especially among younger consumers)
The reinforcement of online sales observed in recent years is receiving a new boost due to Corona. The shift in purchasing in favor of online retailing is evident in all four countries, with the strongest showing in Sweden. Here, 40% of consumers say that they ordered more online during the Corona crisis (8% less). Similar results, slightly more moderate, are also seen in Germany (29% more, 9% less ordered online). The demand shift in favor of online purchasing is particularly strong among younger consumers under the age of 30, while it is relatively weak among the age group of 60+.

“It is becoming increasingly apparent, that Corona will also have a medium-term impact on demand behavior. For instance, consumer preferences also seem to diverge more along age segments: On the one hand, the younger consumers are directing towards omnichannel shopping, where even fluctuating prices are not a major problem. And on the other hand, the older consumers prefer in-store shopping and have a strong desire for stable and reliable prices”, summarizes Prof. Dr. Andreas Krämer, CEO of exeo Strategic Consulting AG and professor at the University of Applied Sciences in Iserlohn as co-author of the OpinionTRAIN study.

Source:

Rogator AG

(c) STF Swiss Textile & Fashion Institute
23.02.2021

Sustainability Management in Textiles - Interview with Sonja Amport, Director of STF

Contact restrictions, mandatory use of face masks, home office: The Coronavirus has turned our daily lives upside down and reduced public life almost to zero. The impact of the pandemic has even further in-creased the existing pressure for action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. And that is why, it is not surprising that the issues of sustainability, climate protection and digitization are gaining ground in the industry's and consumers' awareness. New management qualities are required.

Textination talked to Sonja Amport, Director of the STF Swiss Textile & Fashion Institute, about the new training course CAS Sustainability Management in Textiles. After career experiences in the industry and in associations, the business economist with a master's degree in International Management has been contributing her knowledge of textiles, education, business administration, as well as marketing and sales to STF with vigor and passion since 2015.

Contact restrictions, mandatory use of face masks, home office: The Coronavirus has turned our daily lives upside down and reduced public life almost to zero. The impact of the pandemic has even further in-creased the existing pressure for action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. And that is why, it is not surprising that the issues of sustainability, climate protection and digitization are gaining ground in the industry's and consumers' awareness. New management qualities are required.

Textination talked to Sonja Amport, Director of the STF Swiss Textile & Fashion Institute, about the new training course CAS Sustainability Management in Textiles. After career experiences in the industry and in associations, the business economist with a master's degree in International Management has been contributing her knowledge of textiles, education, business administration, as well as marketing and sales to STF with vigor and passion since 2015.

The history of the STF Swiss Textile & Fashion Institute began in 1881. In this year Pablo Picasso was born and Billy the Kid was shot. The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach was premiered and Thomas Alva Edison built the world's first electric power station. The Breuninger department store opened at Stuttgart's market square and Rudolph Karstadt's first store in Wismar.
What led to the foundation of STF during this period of time and what values do you still feel committed to today?

In 1881, the textile industry in Switzerland was thriving. Companies in the sector of spinning, weaving, finishing and others burgeoned. However, there was a shortage of trained specialists who could have operated or repaired the machines. This is why the companies teamed up and founded the STF Swiss Textile & Fashion Institute - a place for education and training of specialists for the Swiss textile and clothing industry. For this reason, the STF is still organized as a cooperative today. Therefore, we are still committed to the values of competence, customer orientation, innovation, inspiration and passion to this day.

If you had to introduce your educational institution in 100 words to someone who doesn't know the Schweizerische Textilfachschule: How does the school define itself today and on which fields of activity does it focus?
The STF Swiss Textile & Fashion Institute stands for sustainable educational competence covering the entire life cycle of a textile, fashion or lifestyle product. With the "STF-LAB", the STF positions itself as an educational service provider with three business fields. The core field is "Education", where the STF offers numerous training and further education courses, from basic education to bachelor's and master's degrees. In the "Incubator & Makerspace" (STF Studio), the main focus is on shared infrastructure, mutual inspiration and the thereby together achieved progress. In the third business field, "Think Tank & Consulting", the school acts as a think tank, where experts can be "hired" and part-time management is offered.

Keyword life-long education: What further education programs does the STF offer for the textile and clothing industry, even after a successful degree?
Which industry sectors and which countries are you focusing on?

Firstly, we offer a variety of informal modular courses for the textile and clothing industry as well as retail, in which one can achieve a good overview of a specific topic within 45 lessons. Such as: Welding & Bonding, Smart & Functional Textiles, Start-up in Fashion or the Steiger Stitch Module, where you learn to program your own knitting designs and then knit them on a "Shared Machine" at STF. We also offer two-week intensive summer courses each year, for example in Sustainable Fashion Design. In terms of formal education, I can recommend our master’s program in Product Management Fashion & Textile in German or our two CAS in Sustainability Management in Textiles. Once with face-to-face classes in German and once via e-learning in English. At the moment, we are focusing our programs on Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH region). Our internationalization strategy was abruptly stopped due to Covid-19. With our English master's programs, we were focusing particularly on the Indian and Chinese markets We are now strategically repositioning ourselves with English language courses and will start marketing again from 2022 onwards. The goal is to provide flexible, modular master's programs with a high e-learning component, so that costs remain moderate and travelling can be reduced.

Sustainability has changed from a buzzword to a matter of course: The latest OTTO Trend Study even says, that sustainable consumption has entered the mainstream society. What does this mean for the textile and clothing industry? Are the companies positioned in terms of personnel in such a way, that they have professionally incorporated this complex of topics into their service portfolio?
Swiss companies have recognized, that they only have a chance against foreign competitors, if they are capable of innovation, consistently operating in a niche and can stand out through sustainable production. Sustainability is therefore an absolutely central USP. With this in mind, many companies are dealing this and, of course, also send their employees to us for further training.

The STF offers - so far being the only one in the German-speaking area - an internationally recognized further education in the field of Sustainability Management in Textiles as a Certificate of Advanced Studies CAS. Which sub-areas from design, production, process optimization to marketing does the certificate cover?
The STF offers the internationally recognized University of Applied Sciences certificate in collaboration with SUPSI, the Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana in Ticino.

In the degree program, we look from a holistic perspective and at the entire value chain of a textile, i.e. from design to production and to marketing, global challenges, where sustainability acts as a multilateral solution. In addition, the normative and strategic management of sustainability, topics related to social responsibility as well as initiatives and standards for the textile industry are highlighted. An important element of the CAS are raw materials and products, i.e. not only sustainable fibers but also fabrics or the use of chemical agents. Last but not least, aspects around biodiversity, animal welfare, marketing, labeling as well as possible future scenarios and best practice examples are highlighted.

Who could be interested in the CAS Sustainability Management in Textiles and why? What impact can the certificate have on a career?
The CAS is attractive for managers who are generally concerned about the strategic orientation of a company, as well as for specialist employees in design, product development, purchasing, sales or quality management who are responsible for operationalizing the sustainability strategy. And of course we always welcome young designers with their own fashion labels willing to break new, sustainable grounds and to stand out from the rest. The push in professional life is strongly related to one's own personality. So far, however, all graduates have found attending the further education program to be extremely beneficial for their own career paths.

What about the formal aspects of the CAS? For example, are there selection criteria, by when do you have to register, what does the curriculum look like, and what are the fees for attendants?
We start the educational courses at the end of August each year. Early registration, preferably by mid-May, is recommended to secure a place. In the face-to-face course, 120 lessons take place in Zurich and Ticino, costs of CHF 5,900. -, including teaching materials and examination fees, can be expected. In the e-learning course, with a few days of on-site attendance, the content is taught synchronously by Microsoft Teams, usually by the same lecturers. Here, the fee is CHF 5,600.

These costs do not include personal expenses as well as travel and accommodation costs.

Those who are interested can find the facts & figures on our homepage (available in German only):
(www.stf.ch/kurse/cas or www.stf.ch/kurse/cas-online)

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly shown us the limitations of mobility. How have you responded to this as an educational institution?
Physical limitations can easily be overcome with e-learning. One of the reasons why our classes continued regularly throughout the pandemic period. For the period after Covid-19, we are planning, in addition to face-to-face study modules, further online-only seminars, such as our CAS-Online. These will be offered increasingly in English as well. We are also currently testing possible forms of hybrid lessons. Meaning, while some are educated on-site in Zurich, people who have to travel a long way, such as those from Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH region), can attend the lessons virtually and live from a distance.

The past year has left its mark on the textile and apparel industry. When you look back on a year of "state of emergency" - what positive experiences do you take with you, where do you see a need for improvement?
It was definitely a year of a state of emergency! One positive aspect is, that we at STF were ready and able to teach online from day one of the lockdown. The learners, students and my team all showed the greatest understanding and flexibility. But as an institute in the textile, fashion and lifestyle sector, teaching also thrives on visual materials. Being able to feel and smell the yarns and fabrics, as well as to discuss the experiences in person, are important learning experiences. It is definitely a challenge to implement such key learning elements online. Overall, Covid-19 has catapulted us forward as an institution in regards to the topic of digitization by what feels like two years. However, I would be grateful if we could return to normality as soon as possible and to an everyday life with "less distance".

Breaking new ground means willingness to make decisions, overcoming fears - and thus courage to fail. Not every project can succeed. In retrospect, which decision that you made for the STF profile are you particularly pleased about?
I'm proud to say that most of the projects we tackle are successful. There is almost always a way. Sometimes, as you move forward, you just have to adjust the direction a bit to get where you want to go. A groundbreaking innovation was certainly the modularization of (almost) all degree programs. Students can therefore benefit from a wide range of choices and create their own curriculum.

A second decision I'm grateful for was that, as a small institute, we invested a lot in expanding our digital capabilities and infrastructure at a very early stage, which we are now benefiting from. With very well-trained lecturers and a learning platform, a VM platform and modern 3D software in various subject areas, we consider ourselves a pioneer in e-learning and digitalization across Europe. Capabilities, which also pay off in terms of sustainability.

The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, Managing Director of Textination GmbH

 

Further information:

Bild Gerd Altmann, Pixabay
02.02.2021

5th Otto Group Trend Study: Ethical consumption established in German mainstream

Ethical consumption seems to have arrived at the center of society. 70 percent of respondents in the current trend study state that ethical criteria have become a fixed component of their purchasing decisions. 82 percent are in favor of a longer product life and greater material efficiency. And 63 percent are now even willing to bear the additional costs for climate-neutral products. The Otto Group's fifth Trend Study 2020 on ethical consumption formulates provocative theses that encourage rethinking and a new fresh view on the post-Corona world. 

Ethical consumption seems to have arrived at the center of society. 70 percent of respondents in the current trend study state that ethical criteria have become a fixed component of their purchasing decisions. 82 percent are in favor of a longer product life and greater material efficiency. And 63 percent are now even willing to bear the additional costs for climate-neutral products. The Otto Group's fifth Trend Study 2020 on ethical consumption formulates provocative theses that encourage rethinking and a new fresh view on the post-Corona world. 

The trend towards ethical consumption has been observed for many years. Meanwhile, the focus of consumers has changed significantly. They no longer just want to do something good for themselves, they increasingly want to make a difference for others with their consumption. This has noticeable consequences for companies now, because those whose business activities demonstrably harm the environment and nature are finding it increasingly difficult to compete. Companies that do not share the values of their customers, which they believe in and hold on to, quickly lose the trust of their customers. And those who evade their responsibility for the common welfare, are sometimes even boycotted.

"The demands for sustainable changes in our economic system to politics and companies, and the willingness to take responsibility have reached the center of society," says the head of the study, Prof. Peter Wippermann of Trendbuero.

Key results of the current 2020 trend study include:

Ethical consumption becomes mainstream
For 70 percent of Germans, ethical criteria have become an essential part of their purchasing decisions. 20 percent of the respondents even say that they buy more consciously according to ethical criteria since the Corona crisis. Corona has led many people to rethink; purchasing decisions better thought-out, check whether they are necessary they seem to be taking on a different significance in the lives of individuals.
 
The throwaway society is becoming a discontinued model
82 percent of those surveyed are prepared to join the path from a throwaway society to a circular economy, and they are in favor of longer product lives and greater material efficiency. In addition, 63 percent would bear the additional costs for climate-neutral products. Here, too, is a change in the attitude of consumers, who appear to be increasingly willing to pay for the emissions they cause.
     
Sharing and second-hand are trending among consumers
The study shows that 73 percent of respondents think it is good to buy or sell used things such as worn fashion or old furniture. 54 percent of respondents even plan to borrow more in the future. While in 2013 52 percent of respondents were willing to share, swap, borrow or buy used things, by 2020 this figure had already risen to 64 percent.

Consumers increasingly recognize the limits of unbridled growth
70 percent of those surveyed foresee serious difficulties for people and the environment if we continue to consume without restraint. 77 percent of Germans are in favor of industrialized countries taking on more responsibility in the fight against climate change and providing more support for poorer countries. 60 percent can now imagine paying the true costs of environmental pollution and climate change when making purchases. These results suggest that the importance of ethical consumption has not only been established in the people’s minds, but there is also an increasing willingness to dig deeper into their pockets for it.

Politics should set the framework for more ethical consumption
There is also a turnaround in the question of who should ensure more ethical consumption. 41 percent of Germans consider politics to be the driving force behind ethical consumption, 23 percent the economy and 22 percent each individual. In 2011 and 2013, only 27 percent of respondents thought that politicians should be held more accountable for this.

It is also interesting to note that the issue of consumer responsibility continues to grow: 70 percent of all respondents say that ethical criteria are now an essential part of their purchasing considerations. In 2013, the figure was only by 63 percent. Baby boomers (born up to 1964) in particular are pushing the purchase of ethical products. While in 2013 it was 65 percent who bought ethical products more often, by 2020 79 percent were already purchasing according to ethical criteria more frequently. Also interesting: 68 percent of those surveyed would boycott a supplier that behaves unfairly toward its employees and creates poor working conditions.

Alexander Birken, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Otto Group: "The question of whether our way of living and doing business needs to be adjusted is being asked more and more loudly. At least, this is confirmed by the results of this fifth trend study. We in the Otto Group want to make a difference, because it has been our belief for generations that, in the end, the economy must serve the people, not the other way around. However, to achieve this, we all have to change. Away from the throwaway society, toward sustainable and recyclable products, and a resource-friendly production method in which human rights are regarded higher and in which respect and mindfulness toward nature take on a new significance."

For the study, the results of a survey of 1,149 Germans between the ages of 14 and 74 from October 2020 were combined with perspectives based on trend research.
Download (only available in German)

More information:
ethical consumption Otto study
Source:

Otto Group

(c) Claudia Bitzer
05.01.2021

Telling good Stories - PR Challenges of the medium-sized Textile Industry

Interview with Claudia Bitzer, Owner Bitzer PR, Albstadt

The past year was not only a big economic challenge for many companies, but also in terms of communication - whether in advertising or in PR topics - new ground had to be broken. Contact restrictions up to a strict lockdown, the cancellation of many trade fairs, congresses or other event formats made it necessary to rethink.

Textination discussed it with Claudia Bitzer, owner of the PR agency of the same name in Albstadt, Baden-Württemberg. Her customers include medium-sized companies from the textile and clothing industry as well as machinery manufacturers, public clients and the media.

Interview with Claudia Bitzer, Owner Bitzer PR, Albstadt

The past year was not only a big economic challenge for many companies, but also in terms of communication - whether in advertising or in PR topics - new ground had to be broken. Contact restrictions up to a strict lockdown, the cancellation of many trade fairs, congresses or other event formats made it necessary to rethink.

Textination discussed it with Claudia Bitzer, owner of the PR agency of the same name in Albstadt, Baden-Württemberg. Her customers include medium-sized companies from the textile and clothing industry as well as machinery manufacturers, public clients and the media.

With your PR agency based in Albstadt, you have also been busy in the textile industry for a good 5 years. If you had to introduce yourself in 100 words to someone who doesn't know you: Why did you decide to become your own boss after working for an agency, and what distinguishes your work?
Actually, self-employment gave me a call: An acquaintance suggested that I take over the communication for his employer, a textile machine manufacturer in the Alb, as a freelancer. When I was on the phone, I had our ten-day-old son in my arms. I was also a PR consultant at Ketchum in Stuttgart. Because I was curious, I got to grips with the matter over the next few months. With success: The textile machines have turned out to be surprisingly tangible products, after all, they make the clothes that we wear on our bodies every day. From this my access to the textile industry developed, which I would call my home base today.

Because I serve various companies along the textile chain, I have an overall view of the industry and can offer overarching stories with different perspectives. I also have a weakness for complex, "dusty" topics, regardless of the industry. I can delve in them with devotion in order to present them vividly. That's why I would call myself a content specialist.

In addition to German, English, Spanish and French, you speak Swabian fluently. Why is it important to have regional roots when you work for export-oriented companies in the textile industry in Baden-Württemberg?
You got that about fluent Swabian from my website, right? (Laughs) But yes, it is very helpful if you can feel whether "gschwind" – Swabian for “pretty fast” - tolerates a delay or has to be dealt with immediately.

I think the Swabian is really important in terms of the mentality behind it. I grew up in the Alb, my father ran a medium-sized company of his own. I understand many things without a customer having to explain them to me.

For example, modesty in relation to one's own person. Especially in long-established family businesses, the owners play an important role. They bear a great responsibility, both in the company and at their location. Nevertheless, the focus is always on the entrepreneurial performance, the product that, manufactured somewhere in the Swabian province, can keep up with the German, European or global competition. That doesn't happen by itself, but requires courage, entrepreneurial spirit and a great deal of openness to new things, and that fascinates me. I also often notice that by the passion, that these leading family businesses bring with them, I am carried away.

Breaking new ground means being willing to make decisions, overcoming fears - and thus also having the courage to fail. Not every project can succeed. In retrospect, which entrepreneurial decision are you particularly glad to have made?
Apart from being self-employed? The first corona lockdown with home schooling and closed daycare centers was a big challenge. On the one hand, I was relieved that it became quieter on the customer side between the end of March and the beginning of June, otherwise it would not have been feasible either professionally or in terms of family. On the other hand, this silence scared me and I often asked myself whether self-employment was the right way to go.

In early summer, when the situation on all sides had stabilized somewhat, I tackled the problem head on: I looked for co-working spaces and took extensive further training in online marketing. Being honest, of course, these were business decisions. Fortunately, they are already paying off, even if I may sit alone in the office for now.

Is there any work you are particularly proud of? Which story moved you beyond normal and which thematic challenges do you love?
One project that I fondly remember is the communication referring to a repdigit anniversary one of my clients was celebrating. For this, I first put 111 years of the company’s history down on paper in weeks, no, months of archive work. Because I had delved so deeply into the subject, I came up with many ideas for the messages of the anniversary celebration. Fortunately, the client was quickly convinced. At some point we had a signet, a slogan and a really good story for the anniversary. Incidentally, we still benefit from the numerous proof points we worked out for the occasion in our product and corporate communications today.

In addition, the project has naturally deepened the relationship with this client. I also work closely with the advertising agency that accompanied the anniversary communication. I consider such long-term partnerships as a great asset.

Have the messages you want or need to communicate for your clients changed in Corona times? And what was the focus of your work in 2020?
Unsurprisingly, the focus of work in 2020 was on online communication. For almost all of my customers we will start planning and implementing new measures in this area in the coming year.

As for the messages, little has altered. This is certainly due to the fact that the meta-topics have remained the same. Take sustainability, definitely a long-running favorite in the textile industry, and the sub-topic regionality. In contrast to previous crises, the Corona pandemic has not sidelined these approaches, but intensified them because it has shown us how dependent we are on production abroad. The same applies to the issues of transparency and quality.

Precisely because the themes have stayed the same, the crucial part for me is to find a unique story within these permanent themes so as not to disappear into the big river. That requires empathy, creativity - and a good portion of diligence.

Moving away from the simple advertising message to storytelling - what recommendation would you give medium-sized companies in general regarding their communication for the coming year? Are there any special features that the textile industry in particular should consider?
I think that will go in the direction of "We are still there, and even stronger than before". After all, the crisis demanded a lot from everyone. But it is always a productive phase, because when it comes to a head, it forces us to develop further that otherwise would not have been initiated or at least would have been initiated later. Therefore, it can represent a turning point, definitely for the better.

Take digitization, which is the most obvious approach: the crisis has given rise to a boost in this area; the online shop was or is to be expanded, the service is to become more digital.

Apart from that, there are certain individual changes in every company that the crisis has brought about. You can have the courage to name and tell them, because these are stories that interest everyone.

Goodbye Facebook - good morning TikTok. Which social media platforms do you recommend to your clients and under what conditions should medium-sized companies get involved?
TikTok has so far been more of a topic that I discuss with my daughter, who is almost 12 years old. But seriously: I recently read in a study published by Hootsuite that at the beginning of 2020, less than ten percent of Germans were using TikTok. On Facebook, the user share is still over 60 percent. For that reason alone, we shouldn't simply dismiss Facebook.

When I discuss the topic of social media with my clients, it is important for me not to think from the channels. Sure, it's tempting, but other questions should be asked at the beginning: What is the long-term goal of the social media activities? What resources are available - and what budgets? By now it is well known that social media is an extensive field of activity in its own right, which ties up corresponding resources. In medium-sized businesses, where I rarely have access to a multi-headed marketing team, a solid strategy is the be-all and end-all. It must be very, very clear which target groups are to be addressed. Then I can talk about channels and choose the most important ones. This almost certainly includes LinkedIn and Xing, as well as Instagram and Facebook, the latter especially in an international environment. By the way, the evaluation is just as important, it tends to fall behind. The relationship between measured values and corporate goals is anything but trivial.

Trade fairs, events, press conferences and meetings - these have almost completely fallen by the wayside in 2020. How important do you consider face-to-face communication to be in the long term, and which channels and measures do you recommend to your customers to compensate for these losses?
Face-to-face contact remains important! Of course, we all realised last year that not every event has to be a face-to-face event. A video conference saves time and money and, with the right discipline, can be just as effective as a face-to-face meeting. Many service cases can also be solved by video telephony, no one has to travel around. I am therefore convinced that we will not return to the meeting in person culture we had before Corona, even if this will be possible again at some point.

That's why I advise my clients to take advantage of the digital opportunities that are opening up everywhere. At the moment, everyone is still a beginner, you can only learn. Take virtual trade fairs: This is a fundamentally different approach than the classic presence fair. There is no need for a large trade fair team that is ready from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. There are no press appointments either. It is much more important to contact the visitors directly, i.e., to collect leads, to group the visitors and to stay in touch with them after the event by providing them with tailor-made content. Speaking of content: at the latest with such online events, it becomes clear how diverse content must be prepared. To pick up customers in the virtual space, you need graphics, videos, animations and much more.

Nevertheless, it will not work without direct, physical contact. I remain convinced that people buy from people. Video conferences work particularly well when the participants already know each other from real life. And the textile industry in particular thrives on haptics. I can never feel a yarn or a fabric digitally. Nor can I feel the production speed of a machine. With every revolution there is a slight breeze. You can't get that digitally.

 

The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

pixabay: stock exchange2 (c) pixabay
27.10.2020

Medium-sized Businesses: High debt, declining Profits and Financing Gap due to Covid-19

  • After the corona shock, European SMEs are showing very high levels of debt, a considerable deterioration in profitability in some cases, and insufficient capitalization
  • The Covid-19 pandemic is particularly affecting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in France and Italy
  • Compared to its European counterparts, German SMEs have come through the crisis relatively well so far
  • Already before the crisis 20% "zombies" among Italian SMEs, in France 11%, Germany 10%  

In France and Italy in particular, the Covid-19 pandemic is taking a toll on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): they are currently lacking financial resources totaling an estimated EUR 100 billion - despite the extensive economic stimulus packages and after the exclusion of so-called "zombie" companies.

  • After the corona shock, European SMEs are showing very high levels of debt, a considerable deterioration in profitability in some cases, and insufficient capitalization
  • The Covid-19 pandemic is particularly affecting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in France and Italy
  • Compared to its European counterparts, German SMEs have come through the crisis relatively well so far
  • Already before the crisis 20% "zombies" among Italian SMEs, in France 11%, Germany 10%  

In France and Italy in particular, the Covid-19 pandemic is taking a toll on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): they are currently lacking financial resources totaling an estimated EUR 100 billion - despite the extensive economic stimulus packages and after the exclusion of so-called "zombie" companies. In Germany too, SMEs lacking around EUR three billion of financial resources for a sufficient recapitalization. In view of the lack of EUR 70 billion in Italy and around EUR 29 billion in France, however, the local SMEs are in a much better position. This is the conclusion of a recent analysis by the world's leading credit insurer Euler Hermes.

"European SMEs have a very high level of debt, significantly deteriorated profitability and insufficient capitalization," Ron van het Hof, CEO of Euler Hermes in Germany, Austria and Switzerland says. "In the medium term, this is a very bad combination for the solvency of these companies. In Italy and France in particular, Covid-19 is making the situation increasingly acute, even if the numerous economic stimulus packages have at least avoided a short-term liquidity crisis. German SMEs have once again proven to be relatively robust and have so far come through the crisis relatively well compared to their European counterparts."

In this country too, debt has increased as a result of numerous liquidity measures. In France in particular, however, it is almost twice as high in relation to gross domestic product (81% of GDP) as in Germany (43% of GDP). In Italy, the debt of 65% of GDP is above average also in a European comparison (average: 63%).

In terms of profitability, French SMEs are at the bottom of the European league
"French small and medium-sized companies are now at the bottom of the European league in terms of profitability, even behind Italy," Ana Boata, Head of Macroeconomics at Euler Hermes says. "The profitability of French SMEs has fallen dramatically by 7 percentage points (pp) since the beginning of the year compared to -0.6 pp in Germany. In Italy, we estimate that profitability has also fallen by up to 3pp[1]. With 33%, the equity ratio in Italy is the lowest and thus well below the 40% that is generally considered as being adequate. Accordingly, Italy is the country where the greatest need for additional funding for recapitalization exists."

In France, the equity ratio of SMEs is 37%, while in Germany, at 39%, only slightly below the recommended capital adequacy level. In their analysis, the economists have already deducted such companies that were already practically unviable before the Covid 19 pandemic.

"A majority of medium-sized companies are proving to be very robust even in the current crisis, especially in Germany, Van het Hof says. "This fact, however, must not hide the fact that there are numerous zombie companies in their shadow in Europe - even before the Covid-19 pandemic. In Italy, for example, even before the crisis, around one-fifth of the SMEs were no longer economically viable, while in France (11%) and Germany (10%) only about half as many were known. However, this number is likely to have increased dramatically with the current crisis, as have the financing requirements of SMEs. The situation will be particularly tight for companies and sectors that had little buffer before the crisis."

In Germany, the equity ratio before the pandemic was particularly low in the transportation industry: in shipping it was around 32%, in aviation 29%. With Covid-19 the existing financing gap has widened again. In France and Italy, companies in the hotel and restaurant industry as well as in mechanical engineering and trade had particularly bad starting positions and therefore have the greatest need for capital now.

The complete study can be found here: https://ots.de/lYcKea 

[1] Figures are currently available for Germany and France until H1 2020, in Italy only for Q1 2020. The decline in profitability of up to 3pp in Italy is an expert estimate.

Euler Hermes is the world leader in credit insurance and a recognized specialist in bonding and guarantees, debt collection and protection against fraud or political risks. Every day, Euler Hermes monitors and analyzes the insolvency of more than 80 million small, medium and multinational companies through its proprietary monitoring system. Overall, the expert analyses cover markets that account for 92% of the global gross domestic product (GDP).


Please read the attached document for notes regarding forward-looking statements.

Source:

Euler Hermes Deutschland

Photo: Wilhelm-Lorch-Foundation.
11.08.2020

Wilhelm Lorch Foundation: Demand and Support - Qualifying young and up-and-coming Talents

  • Interview with Klaus Kottmeier, Elke Giese, Markus Gotta, Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Maike Rabe

In June 1988, the shareholders and management of Deutscher Fachverlag announced the Wilhelm Lorch Foundation to the textile and garment industry. Its purpose is to promote vocational training, including student assistance as well as science and research.

Upon its establishment, the Foundation received an initial endowment of DM 300,000 from Deut-scher Fachverlag. Today, the Foundation has assets of approx. 2,85 m. Euro (as at Dec 2019). Since 1988, the foundation has awarded sponsorship prizes of around EUR 1,933,564 (as of June 2020) to date, in order to fund the initial and further training of young people from all areas of the textile industry, with a particular focus on young and up-and-coming talents.

  • Interview with Klaus Kottmeier, Elke Giese, Markus Gotta, Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Maike Rabe

In June 1988, the shareholders and management of Deutscher Fachverlag announced the Wilhelm Lorch Foundation to the textile and garment industry. Its purpose is to promote vocational training, including student assistance as well as science and research.

Upon its establishment, the Foundation received an initial endowment of DM 300,000 from Deut-scher Fachverlag. Today, the Foundation has assets of approx. 2,85 m. Euro (as at Dec 2019). Since 1988, the foundation has awarded sponsorship prizes of around EUR 1,933,564 (as of June 2020) to date, in order to fund the initial and further training of young people from all areas of the textile industry, with a particular focus on young and up-and-coming talents.

Textination talked to the former chairman of the supervisory board of Deutscher Fachverlag GmbH, the current member of the executive board and founding member of the foundation, Klaus Kottmeier, as well as three members of the board of trustees: Mrs. Elke Giese - trend analyst and fashion journalist, Markus Gotta, managing director of Deutscher Fachverlag GmbH, and Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Maike Rabe, who will take over the chairmanship of the foundation board on September 1, 2020, about the challenging task of continuing successfully the foundation's work in an environment characterized by the pandemic.

The figure 3 seems to play a very special role for the Wilhelm Lorch Foundation (WLS). In 1988 announced on the occasion of the 30th Forum of the TextilWirtschaft, it was endowed with assets of DM 300,000. 2019 marked the 30th anniversary of the award of the sponsorship prizes. If you had to introduce the WLS in 100 words to someone who does not know the foundation: Which 3 aspects have particularly influenced its development and made it unique?

Klaus Kottmeier: In more than 30 years the WLS has been in existence, the foundation has received great support all over the sector from the very beginning. This continues to this day and is not only reflected in the financial support provided by generous grants, but above all in an active commitment of many sector leaders on the foundation board and board of trustees. A second aspect is the unique range in the topics of the support, which extends across design, business and technology, covering young talents in retail as well as university graduates, but also involving educational institutions themselves. And thirdly, the motivation of so many applicants we experience every year, who prepare their applications with incredible diligence and thus impressively demonstrate their willingness to perform.

 

The name of the foundation is a tribute to Wilhelm Lorch, the publisher and founder of the trade journal Textil-Wirtschaft and thus of Deutscher Fachverlag, who died in 1966. Which of his characteristics and traits do you still see as exemplary for the next generation in our industry today?

Klaus Kottmeier: We are a publishing media house where professional journalism based on sound research always forms the basis. This is associated with classic values such as entrepreneurial courage and will, diligence and discipline, but also a sense of responsibility and team spirit, which were exemplified by our founder and which still form the culture of our company today. These all are qualities young people should take to heart and which, coupled with a passion for their profession, encourage them to continue on their path.

 

According to its statutes, the primary purpose of the foundation is the awarding of "... awards and prizes to graduates of continuation schools of the German retail textile trade, textile-technical training institutes and [...] for final degree or doctoral theses from universities, as far as these deal with textile topics.” How nationally and internationally does the WLS work?

Prof. Maike Rabe: The prizes are mainly awarded to graduates and applicants from Germany and German-speaking countries, but there are also always talents from Europe, who have close ties to the German market.

Markus Gotta: The focus is clearly on the core market of Germany or Germany-Austria-Switzerland respectively, which we cover with the TW - accordingly, we do not advertise internationally, but there is no exclusion for foreign applicants, the only requirement is that the submitted works and reports must be written in German or English.

 

Over the past 31 years in which the foundation has been awarding prizes to people, projects and works, you have met many young talents who have moved our industry or will certainly do so. Are there any unusual stories or special award winners that have remained in your memory? And how do you assess the development of the applicants' educational level over the years?

Elke Giese: The applicants come from very different schools and universities, differing significantly in their profiles and focus. The demands on teaching have grown enormously, especially as a result of increasing digitization. Since the job profiles in the fashion business are also constantly changing and will continue to be subject to major changes in the future, the challenges for schools and students remain very high.
From each year, particularly talented and creative personalities remain in one's memory. To name one, Elisa Paulina Herrmann from Pforzheim, who was twice among the prize winners in 2017 and 2019 with her bachelor's and then master's thesis. Her ability and originality were overwhelming for the board of trustees. She now creates exclusive knitwear collections for Gucci. Among the young men is Niels Holger Wien, who received WLS funding in 1995. He has been the specialist for color trends and zeitgeist of the German Fashion Institute for many years and is currently president of the world's most important color committee INTERCOLOR.

Klaus Kottmeier: There are many award winners who have subsequently made a great career, to name just one example, Dr. Oliver Pabst, current CEO of Mammut Sports Group AG and WLS award winner in 1994.

 

Due to its proximity to TextilWirtschaft, the foundation is primarily associated with fashion design and topics related to clothing production or marketing. In 2020 you have put Smart Textiles in the virtual spotlight with two project sponsorships. How do you see future topics in the field of technical textiles? Can you imagine creating a new focus on that field?

Prof. Maike Rabe: First of all, the WLS supports talented young people who, thanks to their training, can take up a career in the entire textile and clothing industry. Of course, this also includes the field of technical textiles, which is of great importance in terms of production in Germany being a technological leader. Here the boundaries to clothing are fluid, just think of outdoor or sports equipment.    „    

Klaus Kottmeier: Our excellently staffed board of trustees is open to all innovative topics in the industry. Innovations in the field of technical textiles in particular are important topics for the future. In 2017, for example, the sponsorship award went to the Anna-Siemsen-School, a vocational school for textile technology and clothing in Hanover, through which we supported the procurement of a pattern design software.

 

The Wilhelm Lorch Foundation has set itself the goal of supporting qualified young people in the textile and fashion industry. However, you preclude the support for business start-ups. In times, in which start-ups receive increasing attention not only through corresponding TV formats but also through industry associations, there must be reasons for this. What are they and how do you assess future prospects?

Klaus Kottmeier: Support for business start-ups is precluded by §2 of our statutes, which defines the purpose of the foundation. The WLS is exclusively dedicated to the charitable purpose. Support for start-ups and business start-ups would contradict this. We therefore concentrate fully on the further education of young professionals in the sector and the promotion of educational institutions, from which the entire sector benefits.

Prof. Maike Rabe: WLS funding is aimed at further developing the skills of graduates and young talents from the sector. They should receive specific further training, possibly reach a further academic degree, and also learn in an interdisciplinary manner. All of this benefits the sector as a whole and this is our strict objective.


          
The foundation also promotes the training and further education of young and up-and-coming talents who are already working in the textile retail trade. Grants are available to cover course or study fees for further qualification. The closure of shops caused by the lockdown  during the pandemic hit the stationary retail trade hard, and even today we are still miles away from regular business operations. Against this background, how do you see focused funding opportunities for further training in the e-commerce sector?

Markus Gotta: The topics of stationary retail and e-commerce can't really be separated, both have long since become part of the basic requirements in fashion sales and thus also of the topics of training and further education in general.
 
Prof. Maike Rabe: E-commerce has become an integral part of our industry and is naturally reflected in many grants and subsidies. The junior staff members are allowed to make their own suggestions as to where and how they would like to train. We support this. But we would also like to strengthen the connection between stationary and digital trade in particular. Our prize winners have come up with wonderful concepts for both sales channels, and of course they can be combined.

 

Breaking new ground means willingness to make decisions, overcoming fears - and thus courage to fail. Not every project can succeed. In retrospect, which decisions in your foundation work are you particularly happy to have made?

Markus Gotta: That we implemented the Summer School project last year. We broke new ground with the foundation, and this - in cooperation with the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences - was very successful.

Elke Giese: Especially in the field of design and creation, it is important to recognize an applicant's future creative potential from the work at hand and the information provided by the applicant. I am therefore always particularly pleased when the board of trustees makes courageous and progressive decisions.    

 

The Wilhelm Lorch Foundation offers project funding of € 10,000 to universities and educational institutions. They do not make any thematic restrictions here, but simply demand that there must be a clear reference to the sustainable further training of young up-and-coming talents in the textile and fashion industry. According to which criteria do you finally decide which project will be funded?

Elke Giese: One criterion is the relevance for future developments in the textile and fashion industry. Projects in recent years have enabled schools and educational institutions to train on laser cutters and 3D printers, for example, but also to purchase modern knitting machines or software programs.

Prof. Maike Rabe: All the projects submitted are evaluated very strictly by the jury's experts using a points-based system. This results in a shortlist which is presented to the board of trustees and intensively discussed by them. In this way, we ensure that all submitted applications are honored and that we then award the Wilhelm Lorch Prize to the outstanding project submissions in a joint consensus. The most important criteria are sustainable teaching of innovative learning content, practical training and the feasibility of the submitted project.

 

There are many different definitions of sustainability. Customers expect everything under this term - from climate protection to ecology, from on-site production in the region to the exclusion of child labor etc. Public procurement is increasingly switching to sustainable textiles. What does this mean for WLS, and what are you doing to promote sustainable thinking and acting, not only among young professionals?

Prof. Maike Rabe: At the foundation, we base our definition of "sustainability" on the 1987 report of the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, the so-called Brundtland Commission: "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". The textile and clothing sector plays a pioneering role as a globally enormously connected industry with complex supply chains, which should definitely also play a model role. We therefore make it a priority for all award winners to observe these criteria and at the same time try to provide a platform for people who, through their work and actions, offer suggestions for improvement or even already implement improvements.

 

Virtual instead of red carpet: Usually the awards are presented in the festive setting of the TextilWirtschaft Forum. In 2020, due to the Covid-19, there was only a digital version in the form of a short film. How important do you consider networking opportunities that arise from meeting influential personalities face-to-face? Or has such a format become obsolete in the age of video conferencing?

Prof. Maike Rabe: It is certainly remarkable what digital event formats can achieve. But one thing doesn't work: spontaneity, personal contact and closeness. Therefor it is a real pity that the Forum had to be cancelled this year due to corona. Especially for career starters, the chance for direct networking is of great value.

Markus Gotta: The need for personal exchange and meetings will continue to be of great importance and demand in the future. And I can say at this point: We are already working on the plans for the TW Forum 2021 as a live and meeting event with the top decision-makers in the sector.

 

In which socially relevant areas do you see a particularly great need for innovation and action during the next five years? What is your assessment that funding - for example from the Wilhelm Lorch Foundation - can provide targeted support for solutions? And what role do the experiences from the corona pandemic play in this assessment?

Prof. Maike Rabe: We don't think in five-year periods, today's world requires much greater agility - this applies to the Foundation as well as to the entire industry. With each award we re-orientate ourselves towards current topics. Topics such as aesthetics, function and innovation will certainly continue to play a major role, as will quality instead of quantity, eco-social justice and customer loyalty. It is also important, however, that our economy, which is strongly supported by medium-sized companies, is clearly perceived by the public and in politics; we still have to work on that.

Klaus Kottmeier: I gladly agree with Prof. Rabe's closing statement. Agility is also of great importance in a media company like ours. We live in a constant transformation process with constant changes that have to be faced. The corona pandemic has shown us very impressively how quickly original plans can become waste. Today, and more than ever before in the future, a constant willingness to change is required, and this applies not only to us but also to our hopeful young employees.
 

The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius,
CEO Textination GmbH

04.02.2020

The fashion market: A move towards responsible consumption?

A study by the IFM - Première Vision chair
The fashion market in Europe and the United States:  A move towards responsible consumption?

Eco-responsible consumption is no longer a fashion trend, but a major groundswell now impacting the entire sector, from material sourcing to the consumer and the textile and manufacturing industries.
This is one of the major findings of a recent study by the Institut Français de la Mode as part of the IFM - Première Vision Chair that surveyed 5,000 consumers, who constitute a representative sample for France, Germany, Italy and the United States.

A study by the IFM - Première Vision chair
The fashion market in Europe and the United States:  A move towards responsible consumption?

Eco-responsible consumption is no longer a fashion trend, but a major groundswell now impacting the entire sector, from material sourcing to the consumer and the textile and manufacturing industries.
This is one of the major findings of a recent study by the Institut Français de la Mode as part of the IFM - Première Vision Chair that surveyed 5,000 consumers, who constitute a representative sample for France, Germany, Italy and the United States.

"For the first time, this study helps us better understand consumers' perceptions of the responsible fashion market and its products, and decipher their buying motivations and obstacles," said Gilles Lasbordes, Managing Director of Première Vision.
 
A real enthusiasm  
Eco-responsible fashion products are essential. Nearly 50% of European consumers report having purchased an eco-friendly fashion item in 2019 along with 46% of French consumers (including recycled, organic, made in France, and second-hand textiles).  

"These figures show consumers are committed to a level well above the estimate we would have expected, and indicate a real maturity in terms of their expectations. However, fashion is lagging behind other sectors such as food: the proportion of consumers who have purchased organic food products is over 60% in all countries. By the same token, especially in France and Italy, organic beauty products are meeting with real success, with 57% of French consumers purchasing them in 2019," notes Gilles Lasbordes.

In France, the 46% of consumers who bought eco-responsible fashion products are projected to spend an average of 370 Euros on fashion products (clothing and shoes) in 2019. Nationally, the average budget for eco-responsible fashion purchases per French consumer is 170 Euros, which is about 25% of the average budget for clothing and shoes in France.

What's driving this enthusiasm? In France and Italy, preserving and protecting the environment are the principal motivations behind such purchases. Consumers also pay special attention to the non-use of toxic chemicals. These concerns are well reflected in initiatives such as the Fashion Pact launched in the run-up to the G7 in Biarritz last summer.
     
Natural fibres and prices
The study also shows that, when searching for more responsible fashion products, consumers are very strongly guided by the choice of materials. They prefer natural fibres and recycled raw materials when they can, in particular when they are informed of their presence. Preconceived ideas about which materials are considered most harmful to the environment concern polyester, acrylic, polyamide and leather, respectively.

One of the other findings of this survey concerns barriers to consuming more responsible fashions, with one of the main barriers being a lack of information. The consumers feel they have a genuine lack of knowledge about eco-responsibility (its definition and criteria). Some 50.4% of French consumers admit to not knowing enough to select the right products.
 
Beyond a lack of education, another difficulty is access to these fashions, which consumers report not knowing where to find. This is a genuine obstacle for 39.8% of the French consumers canvassed. A lack of clarity of the offer - not much transparency on the part of brands, a multiplicity of certificates - and an under-representation of players - only 23% of French consumers reported knowing responsible fashion brands - is compounded, to a lesser extent, by the question of price, which is a barrier for 33% of French consumers.

On the other hand, style no longer represents an obstacle to the purchase of responsible products. Contrary to perceptions of only a few years ago, consumers today are aware that responsible fashion can be creative, desirable and respectful of the environment and people.

Lastly, consumers seeking to buy more responsible products are now faced with an offer that is still insufficiently developed in terms of their expectations. At the same time, second-hand purchases are increasing and feeding this trend: 56.1% of American women and 42.2% of French women purchased second-hand goods in 2019.
     
Made in…
For a majority of the French consumers surveyed, an eco-responsible fashion product must be manufactured in France (80%) or Europe (46%). This preference for national production is slightly lower in Italy (65%) and Germany (71%) but remains strong. "A product has to be manufactured as close as possible to the market where it is sold in order to reduce the negative impact of transport as much as possible," says a French consumer.  

Also, among the criteria to be met for socially responsible production, consumers emphasise respect for the health and safety of employees, a criteria that ranks far ahead of issues related to wages and discrimination of people employed in the sector.
 
A guiding hand to the fashion ecosystem
"The fashion ecosystem is being shaken up by this environmental phenomenon, with consumption in a state of strain and a slight decline in the mid-range, for example. This study will be useful to steer the sector, guide the market, provide precise analytic keys for industry and brands wishing to expand their offer. And that is also our objective and the role of Première Vision," underlines Gilles Lasbordes.

The consumption of eco-responsible fashion represents a significant growth opportunity for brands and labels. The next few years will certainly see the introduction of a new system that is more respectful of the environment and the social conditions under which goods are produced.

The results of this study were also used to enrich the experience of the show's 2,055 exhibitors - spinners, weavers, tanners, textile designers, accessory manufacturers and fashion manufacturers - and its 56,000 visitors - international groups and fashion brands - at Première Vision Paris last year 17 to 19 September in Villepinte.

 

More information:
Sustainable Apparel
Source:

Chair Institut Français de la Mode - Première Vision

PromoTex Expo (c) PromoTex Expo
08.10.2019

Make your brand wearable - PromoTex Expo to enter second round in 2020

  • Sustainability at the Textile Campus
  • Make your shirt: Digital textile finishing process

It’s colourful, it’s loud and it shouts: “Make your brand wearable!” With its new claim PromoTex Expo brings together textile finishers and experts, signmakers, designers, promotional product distributors, agencies and marketeers to present their highlights in promotion, sports and workwear. The event will once again be held concurrently with PSI and viscom from 7 – 9 January 2020. Together these three trade shows – boasting optimised hall occupancy – form the World of Advertising and Selling.

  • Sustainability at the Textile Campus
  • Make your shirt: Digital textile finishing process

It’s colourful, it’s loud and it shouts: “Make your brand wearable!” With its new claim PromoTex Expo brings together textile finishers and experts, signmakers, designers, promotional product distributors, agencies and marketeers to present their highlights in promotion, sports and workwear. The event will once again be held concurrently with PSI and viscom from 7 – 9 January 2020. Together these three trade shows – boasting optimised hall occupancy – form the World of Advertising and Selling.

A total of 14.9 billion euros in sales are generated annually in Europe by the business with promotional items: This is shown by the "Industry Structure Analysis 2017-19", the first empirical study on the European promotional products industry. The structural data collected on markets, suppliers and retailers systematically and representatively covers the entire value chain.

The study shows: More than one third of the total European turnover is generated by micro-enterprises with fewer than 10 employees. Together with large companies with more than 250 employees, they form the main source of sales in our industry. Together they account for more than half of the turnover. Germany generated with total 3,5 billion Euro about 23 of the European annual business and is thus one of the top 10 nations in the European promotional products industry.
 
PromoTex Expo to move closer to PSI again
Exhibitors’ wishes and needs were centre stage when allocating hall space for this trio of trade shows. This is also why PromoTex Expo will move closer to PSI again occupying parts of Hall 12 in future. In exchange for this, floor space so far unexploited in the other halls will be used for selling. “On the one hand, this move allows us to preserve the independence of PromoTex Expo within this alliance and, on the other, to ensure the proximity with PSI called for by the market,” says Director Petra Lassahn accounting for this move and adding: “Upon the request of both exhibitors and visitors we will already be implementing this adjustment in 2020 and, hence, one year earlier than planned.”

viscom will find its new home in Hall 13. Two walkways create a direct connection between the two trade shows thereby ensuring optimum visitor flows. The trade show for visual communication will also be directly accessible via the entrances Ost and Nord-Ost. As a result, the tactile, textile and visual forms of communication will again be presented under the same roof and within even easier reach at the beginning of the year. As before, admission to all three trade shows will be exclusively restricted to qualified trade visitors and PSI members.
 
Sustainability a trend at the Textile Campus
In Hall 12 visitors to PromoTex Expo will find such familiar faces in this industry as TeeJays, Lynka, Vossen, Matterhorn, Regatta and MASCOT International A/S. However, new faces like stilfaser and the IGUANA GROUP will also feature, introducing their product highlights as part of the international trade show.

Alongside the exhibitors’ ranges an extensive line-up of side events will also convince visitors. Serving as a centre piece here will be the Textile Campus. In cooperation with sustainable companies, it will be shown how new workwear is created from plastic fished from the sea or how old clothes are turned into new promotional textiles. The focus is on ideas from innovative companies that use them to make production and trade fairer and ecological. On the catwalk adjacent to the campus, the participating exhibitors will present their latest collections to a wide audience.
 
Strolling along the fashion Boulevard
Visitors looking for innovations and directions in the fields of sports, career, promotion and leisure will find these at a glance at the new Boulevard. The corridor leads completely through the exhibition hall and shows the trends in a theme-oriented and staged way.

The production chain from design to finished product will be featured on the special area “Mach Dein Shirt/Make your Shirt” in Hall 13. Under the heading “Textil 4.0” this area will focus on Mass Customisation. IT experts and solutions providers will guide visitors through tomorrow’s buying process using a QR code. Once these have generated a print motif, they issue a print job and then follow their individual QR code on its way through the finishing process up to shipping. In an illustrative way, the linking of digital IT solutions with analogue finishing techniques will be demonstrated here, with the IT solution care of our curated partner Smake playing a key role. In the process, the synergies between tactile, textile and visual communications become apparent and with it the concept underlying this trade show triad.
          
About PromoTex Expo
All facets of Mass Customisation, smart clothes, sustainability in the textile chain as well as textile finishing as a service: these are the trend themes of PromoTex Expo. As a new information and knowledge platform for this industry the trade show for Promotion, Sports and Workwear in Düsseldorf is the central point of contact for international textile finishers, promotional product distributors, signmakers, designers, textile experts, retail and agencies. After its successful debut in January 2019 attended by 13,217 trade visitors from 39 nations, the forthcoming event will be held in Düsseldorf from 7 to 9 January 2020 – concurrently with the trade shows PSI – Leading European Trade Show of the Promotional Products Industry and viscom – European Trade Show for Visual Communication. Taken together they form Europe’s biggest trade show alliance for Advertising and Selling.

DIGITALE PROZESSKETTE SICHERT ZUKUNFT DES LEICHTBAUS © Reed Exhibitions Deutschland GmbH
10.09.2019

DIGITAL PROCESS CHAIN SECURES THE FUTURE OF LIGHTWEIGHT CONSTRUCTION

  • At COMPOSITES EUROPE from 10 to 12 September
     
  • Incubator of ideas for multi-material lightweight construction
     
  • „Ultralight in Space“: Market study examines lightweight construction trends in aerospace

Whenever there’s movement, mass and weight quickly become destroyers of energy. From 10 to 12 September, the Lightweight Technologies Forum (LTF) at COMPOSITES EUROPE in Stuttgart will show how lightweight construction contributes to more efficient and better cars, airplanes and machines. The focus at the Forum will be on the commercially viable implementation of cross-material and holistic lightweight construction systems. The way to get there is through the digitalisation of the process chain.

  • At COMPOSITES EUROPE from 10 to 12 September
     
  • Incubator of ideas for multi-material lightweight construction
     
  • „Ultralight in Space“: Market study examines lightweight construction trends in aerospace

Whenever there’s movement, mass and weight quickly become destroyers of energy. From 10 to 12 September, the Lightweight Technologies Forum (LTF) at COMPOSITES EUROPE in Stuttgart will show how lightweight construction contributes to more efficient and better cars, airplanes and machines. The focus at the Forum will be on the commercially viable implementation of cross-material and holistic lightweight construction systems. The way to get there is through the digitalisation of the process chain.

From the idea to the component – that’s the path the Lightweight Technologies Forum aims to illuminate and support. To that end, the forum will gather current lightweight construction projects in Stuttgart, including from automotive engineering, aerospace and mechanical engineering – precisely those industries whose stringent material, safety and reliability demands make them idea generators for many other industries.
The commonality that runs through all the projects: a consistently digital process chain contributes significantly to the implementation of innovations. Another focus area is connecting and joining technology in multi-material lightweight construction.

"The Lightweight Technologies Forum is conceived as a cross-industry and cross-material incubator of ideas, a place where all stakeholders can consider new concepts. For that, we’re bringing successful flagship projects to Stuttgart”, says Olaf Freier, who on behalf of organiser Reed Exhibitions is responsible for the programme of the forum.

The growing significance of digitalisation and bionics
Support in putting together the forum programme comes from Automotive Management Consulting (AMC). The consulting company specialises in lightweight construction strategies, processes and structures in the automotive industry. “Lightweight construction requires comprehensive, systematic thinking”, says Rainer Kurek, the managing director of AMC. “The most important key factor, though, is the digitalisation of the process chain. Only virtual and simulation-driven design work can bring about competitive lightweight construction products, because they’re launched faster and ensure process safety while costing far less in development”, Kurek adds.

„Ultralight in Space“: Market study on lightweight construction trends in the aerospace industry
When it comes to ultra-lightweight construction, space travel has played a pioneering role since its inception, having driven many disciplines to new record performances. In cooperation with the Luxembourg-based aerospace suppliers GRADEL, AMC are currently conducting a market study to examine the latest technological trends. The results will be revealed at the LTF in Stuttgart on 10 September.
"Even though aerospace is a niche business: technical solutions that meet the stringent material demands here lead the way into the future, which in turn impacts other industries. That’s why it’s important to know the customer’s needs as well as the lightweight strategies, processes, structures and material decision-making of this market”, Rainer Kurek says assuredly.

Also underlining how important space travel is for the development of new technologies is Claude Maack, managing director of GRADEL: “All components are exposed to extreme conditions. Right from the launch of the rocket, they have to withstand enormous acceleration forces. In space, material must resist radiation exposure – and for many years. Then there are the high temperature differences from minus 185 to plus 200 degrees Celsius – alternating every couple of hours from one extreme to the other.“

The material question: Composites with biggest growth potential
Metals currently hold the largest market share among lightweight materials – but fibre-reinforced composites are said to have the biggest growth potential. More and more often they get to apply their strengths in lightweight construction. In the exhibition area, the LTF demonstrates how glass-fibre reinforced (GFRP) and carbon-fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) play to their strengths in hybrid structural components.
On display, among other things, will be an ultra-lightweight seat by Automotive Management Consulting (AMC), Alba tooling & engineering and csi entwicklungstechnik GmbH, which was presented as a feasibility study – based on the lightweight construction innovation xFK in 3D – and virtual prototype at the 2018 LTF.

The innovative ultra-lightweight seat, which only weighs 10 kg, is based on a special winding process for fibre-composite components. The  “xFK in 3D process” uses a resin-impregnated continuous fibre from which components are wound and produced without waste to match the load. Conceivable uses for the concept seat include the so-called hypercars, sports cars and the air taxis of the future. Just a few weeks ago, the prototype was presented to the public and swiftly recognised with the German Innovation Award.

Exhibitors will be presenting additional lightweight construction solutions in the adjacent Lightweight Area. Some examples include structural components, semi-finished goods, technical textiles, adhesives and resins for automotive engineering and aerospace.

Altogether, visitors of the Lightweight Technologies Forum and COMPOSITES EUROPE will meet 300 exhibitors from 30 countries who will come to Stuttgart to showcase the entire process chain of fibre-reinforced plastics – from materials to machines for processing to concrete application examples from automotive engineering, aerospace, mechanical engineering, construction, wind power, and the sports and leisure sector. Besides new products, a special focus of the trade fair will be on advances in process technologies for large-scale series production.  
 

Composites Europe 2019 (c) Photos: Reed Exhibitions/ Oliver Wachenfeld
30.07.2019

COMPOSITES EUROPE 2019: Digital Process Chain makes Fibre Composites Competitive

  • Strong Triple: COMPOSITES EUROPE, International Composites Conference and Lightweight Technologies Forum
  • “Process live” special areas showcase technological progress
  • Co-located event: Foam Expo Europe

The composites industry provides important impetus – for lightweight construction and material innovations in automotive, aviation, mechanical engineering, construction, wind power as well as in the sports and leisure sectors. So in international competition it is solutions with a high degree of automation that are in demand. COMPOSITES EUROPE from 10 to 12 September will present the trends and advances in the production and processing of fibre-reinforced plastics in Stuttgart. The trade fair will be accompanied by the International Composites Conference and the Lightweight Technologies Forum. Also held in parallel at the Messe Stuttgart premises will be Foam Expo Europe.

  • Strong Triple: COMPOSITES EUROPE, International Composites Conference and Lightweight Technologies Forum
  • “Process live” special areas showcase technological progress
  • Co-located event: Foam Expo Europe

The composites industry provides important impetus – for lightweight construction and material innovations in automotive, aviation, mechanical engineering, construction, wind power as well as in the sports and leisure sectors. So in international competition it is solutions with a high degree of automation that are in demand. COMPOSITES EUROPE from 10 to 12 September will present the trends and advances in the production and processing of fibre-reinforced plastics in Stuttgart. The trade fair will be accompanied by the International Composites Conference and the Lightweight Technologies Forum. Also held in parallel at the Messe Stuttgart premises will be Foam Expo Europe.

Trade fair visitors will meet with over 300 exhibitors from 30 nations who will be displaying materials, technical solutions and innovative application examples in Stuttgart. Apart from novel products the trade fair will place special emphasis on innovative process engineering. Visitors will learn about the state of play in serial production and new applications in the composites industry in the exhibition area as well as on numerous special areas, on themed guided tours, at the accompanying International Composites Conference and at the Lightweight Technologies Forum, which is dedicated to the trends in multi-material lightweight construction.

“Process live”: Technologies in Synergy
Perfectly coordinated processing and manufacturing processes will be centre stage at the “Process live” event. On shared exhibition space machinery and equipment manufacturers will exhibit their technologies in concert and – what’s more – in operation so as to show the different individual processes in a real context.  

On display, to name but one exhibit, is VAP®, the Vacuum Assisted Process patented by Airbus, which will be in the limelight in the Trans-Textil and Composyst special area. This process permits the one-step production of large-surface and geometrically complex components without an autoclave, which is why it is particularly suitable for structural components in aviation, wind power, shipbuilding, in rail and road transport, in machinery and device manufacturing as well as in architecture and in the leisure industry.

The “Process live” special area care of cutting specialists GUNNAR from Switzerland specifically targets the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) with its small and medium-sized companies. Jointly with laser projection expert LAP and composites engineering expert SCHEURER Swiss, GUNNAR introduces a connected overall process that fuses modern machinery and software with specialists’ manual jobs. The point of departure here is an automated manufacturing process for sorted layer placement in small and medium quantities involving a certain degree of skilled labour.

Fibre composite specialist Hacotech will present CNC-controlled cutting processes and various finishing possibilities in cooperation with Aristo Graphic Systeme and Lavesan. Alongside cutting, production preparation and customised sizing, the production of dimensionally correct templates and the cutting and custom-sizing of composite materials and prepregs will be on show.

Cutting technology is also centre stage in the special area of Rebstock Consulting, Broetje-Automation and Zünd Systemtechnik, which will be taking part in “Process live” with “Automated Sorting and Kitting”.

Composite producer Saertex and chemical company Scott Bader will demonstrate the RTM process for producing and curing a laminate that complies with the highest fire protection requirements in as little as 1 hour.   

5th International Composites Conference (ICC)
Serial production, stable processes, new markets – the International Composites Conference (ICC) is set to inject a fresh breeze for innovations into the market and to this end brings together processors and users of fibre-reinforced plastics from all over Europe. For the first time, this renowned Conference will be held in parallel with COMPOSITES EUROPE. The lecture programme put together by the trade association Composites Germany and the trade fair will also move closer in terms of content.  

One of tomorrow’s cross-cutting themes keeping the entire industry on its toes are multi-material solutions in nearly all industrial applications. In the construction sector the Conference also deals with the rising use of carbon concrete. Process engineering will focus on processing thermoplastic materials for serial production and stable processes for thermoset plastic processing.  

The partner country of the Conference is the United Kingdom. Especially against the backdrop of the current Brexit debate the ICC aims to foster exchange among all European countries. After all, the UK is among the biggest producers of composites components in Europe.

Themed Tours on Digitalisation, Fibre Glass, Thermoplastics, Automotive and Wind Power
Guided tours and hands-on demonstrations in the exhibition halls complement the conference programme. Themed guided tours revolving around composites application, materials and markets guide trade fair visitors and congress delegates right to the stands of selected exhibitors, who will share with visitors their innovations in the fields of digitalisation of composites production, automotive manufacturing, building and construction, fibreglass, new mobility, thermoplastic materials and wind power.  

New ideas on special areas and joint stands
“Material and Production Technology” is the name of the new special area set up under the guidance of the Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) of the RWTH Aachen University. In cooperation with other institutes such as the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) the IKV will place manufacturing technology centre stage at the trade fair. In particular, the special area will trace the path from scientific development to practical, industrial implementation.

Tomorrow’s automotive experts will also be given a separate forum: under the heading “Formula Student” students and trainees will present to visitors racing cars and bikes they have engineered.

Lightweight Technologies Forum: platform for multi-material lightweight construction
Lightweight construction remains a driver across the board for many developments in the composites sector. The Lightweight Technologies Forum (LTF) held as part of COMPOSITES EUROPE makes it clear how lightweight construction can be achieved in an economical and resource-efficient manner. This Forum views itself as a cross-industry and multi-material think tank where all parties involved can reflect on these new concepts.

To this end, the Forum in Stuttgart pools lightweight construction projects from automotive manufacturing, aviation and aerospace and mechanical engineering, to name but a few industries that serve as a driving force for many sectors with high demands made on materials, security and reliability.  

This year’s keynote speakers include Airbus Innovation Manager Peter Pirklbauer, lightweight construction expert Prof. Jörg Wellnitz (TU Ingolstadt), Dutch racing driver Jeroen Bleekemolen and lightweight construction, aviation and aerospace specialist Claus Georg Bayreuther (AMC). In their talks they will provide an overview of reference projects and novel manufacturing and joining technologies.  

Combining its own exhibition space with a lecture forum, the LTF demonstrates how glass-fibre reinforced plastics (GRP) and carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) leverage their strengths mixed with other materials in hybrid structural components. Exhibitors at the Forum and in the neighbouring Lightweight Area include “Leichtbau-Zentrum Sachsen” (Lightweight Construction Center Saxony), Chem-Trend, Gößl + Pfaff, Krempel, Mitsui Chemicals Europe, Leichtbau BW, the VDMA, Gustav Gerster, Potters Ballotini (UK), Yuho (Japan), Riba Composites (Italy) and Stamixco (Switzerland) as well as the journals Lightweight Design (Springer Fachmedien) and Automobil Industrie (Vogel Communications Group), to name but a few.

“Ultralight in Space”: market study on lightweight construction trends in the aerospace industry
The aerospace industry has always served as a pioneer for ultra-lightweight construction pushing many disciplines to their limits as a driver of innovation. The latest technical trends are currently under scrutiny via a market study carried out by consultancy Automotive Management Consulting (AMC) in cooperation with the Luxembourg-based aerospace OEM GRADEL. The results will be presented for the first time at the LTF in Stuttgart on 10 September.  

Presentation of the AVK Innovation Prize
Innovative products and applications in fibre-reinforced plastics, manufacturing processes and the latest insights from research and science, will again be recognised by the German trade association AVK – Industrievereinigung Verstärkte Kunststoffe e. V. with its renowned Innovation Prize. The winners will be announced as part of the trade fair on 10 September and the award-winning products and projects will be on display in a special area.

Presentation of the SMB-BMC Design Award
The European Alliance for SMC BMC will announce the winners of the SMC BMC Design Award 2019 – also on 10 September. The contest already held for the second time now, honours and promotes the design excellence of students or young design professionals who use SMC and BMC components (sheet and bulk moulding compounds) in their designs. This year saw sustainable mobility take centre stage as a theme.

COMPOSITES Night
The event to celebrate the midway point of the trade fair: the COMPOSITES Night at the end of the second trade fair day offers visitors and exhibitors additional opportunities for networking. Participants are in for buffets and live music at the Stage Palladium Theater in Stuttgart.

Matchmaking programme makes trade fair visit more efficient
Thanks to the complimentary networking & meeting platform “matchmaking” visitors and exhibitors can already reach out to contacts in the run-up to COMPOSITES EUROPE. Who is at the trade fair? Who has answers to your specific questions? Who can you team up with to turn new ideas into practice? The matchmaking platform allows you to “filter” and make direct appointments with potential cooperation partners by product category, industry, country, or company.

Career & Composites
With its career&composites stand COMPOSITES EUROPE targets students and graduates who can come here to establish contact with potential employers. On the special area the exhibitors present their companies to interested junior employees and attract attention to vacancies and career opportunities via a Job Wall.

Co-located with Foam Expo Europe
COMPOSITES EUROPE will be co-located with Foam Expo Europe for the first time. This trade fair covers the supply chain of technical foam production and presents moulded, rigid and soft foam solutions – from raw materials to equipment and machinery. The parallel exhibition dates generate special synergies for gaining an overview of lightweight construction materials for such shared applications as the automotive, aviation, construction and sports & leisure industries.

Photo: PREMIÈRE VISION
16.07.2019

PREMIÈRE VISION PARIS IN 09/2019: SPORT, PERFORMANCE AND FASHION

THE INSEPARABLE TRIO UNVEILS ITS NEW STRENGTHS
The next edition of Première Vision Paris, taking place from 17 to 19 September 2019 at Paris Nord Villepinte, will present the new materials and creative stimuli for the autumn-winter 2020-21 season.

This major event for all fashion industry players brings together, twice a year, the six principle activities in the upstream sector: yarns, fabrics, leathers, designs, accessories and clothing. 

THE INSEPARABLE TRIO UNVEILS ITS NEW STRENGTHS
The next edition of Première Vision Paris, taking place from 17 to 19 September 2019 at Paris Nord Villepinte, will present the new materials and creative stimuli for the autumn-winter 2020-21 season.

This major event for all fashion industry players brings together, twice a year, the six principle activities in the upstream sector: yarns, fabrics, leathers, designs, accessories and clothing. 

In the spotlight: the pinnacle of sportswear, its influence on collections and the development of accompanying technological innovations and technical materials. To address these issues, which now permeate all of fashion, Première Vision’s Sport & Tech sector will be prominently featured at the next show. Located in the textile universe of Première Vision Fabrics, in Hall 6, it will bring together 80 exhibiting weavers - including 8 newcomers - to accompany brands and designers looking for inspiration. Their new products will be unveiled in a dedicated space, the Sport & Tech forum, designed around a core theme of «A matter of protection» (protection and innovation).
 
Sportswear gains ground, playing a major role in collections
The global sportswear market grew steadily between 2011 and 2016, reaching $280 billion in 20161. It has entered into consumer habits and is synonymous with comfort and technical expertise, as well as style and creativity. And France is no exception: according to a recent study2, French consumers wear sport clothes 1 day out of 5, and 25% of consumers see the latter as a «trend». This growing phenomenon has a significant influence on the industry and on those who design and produce clothing and accessories, whether fashion brands using technical materials for their ready-to-wear collections or sports brands developing lifestyle lines. It was to best support these brands that Première Vision developed an offer specially focused on this area within its flagship event: Première Vision Paris.
     
Protection and insulation: technological contributions
Each edition, the Première Vision teams identify a strong theme based on their international research. As sport wear collections grow increasingly popular, the added performance and technology in these product lines is becoming ever more critical. Consumers have been able to try out the innovative features integrated in their sport apparel for several years now, and expect the same functionality in their everyday clothing. «A matter of protection» has thus been selected as the season’s theme for the Sport & Tech sector. A fashion theme that will be particularly highlighted in the dedicated forum, which will present a broader offer of fabrics and high-performance materials from the show’s weavers, knitters and finishers to meet the needs of industry professionals.

Marguerite Coiraton, Show Manager of Première Vision Fabrics and in charge of the Sport & Tech trail, added: « The September 2019 edition is particularly interested in how clothes are used to protect against the elements, a theme which will certainly dominate the autumn-winter 20-21 collections. This concept encompasses, for example, insulation, with the development of thermo-active materials, fabrics and fibres equipped with nanotechnologies, and intelligent augmented protection».

In addition to the dedicated sector within Fabrics, Première Vision also offers a Sport & Tech itinerary - available on the show app - bringing together nearly 700 exhibitors specialised in sports and technical materials who can be found at the show. This complete panorama comprises spinners, weavers, knitters, tanners, accessory makers, textile designers and fashion manufacturers.
 
SPOTLIGHT ON: A preview of a selection of Sport & Tech exhibitors

  • Polartec: an insulation solution used by outdoor sports enthusiasts for nearly twenty years, Polartec® fabrics come in a variety of textures and weights and are specifically designed to improve performance in a wide range of environments;
  • Pontetorto SportSystem: founded in 1952, Pontetorto offers a wide range of products from polar fleeces to stretch fabrics, including multilayers, windproofs, waterproof membranes and breathable materials;
  • Schoeller textiles: a Swiss company specialised in developing innovative textiles, especially warm and resistant fabrics. ‘Cosmopolitan’, its multifunctional collection, perfectly meets the growing demand for high-performance style, with fabrics where outstanding performance features do not preclude a natural feel and perfect comfort;
  • Swing by Gruppocinque: an Italian fabric manufacturer using innovative technologies and finishings such as resins, membranes and high-performance treatments;
  • Mackent: has an offer of highly original textiles with a focus on shock-absorbing spacer knits for lingerie/ ready-to-wear pieces;
  • Sportwear Argentona: a Spanish brand specialising in fabric manufacturing, is presenting its ‘2.0 fabrics’ with excellent breathability and high comfort. These are adaptable, lightweight, elastic, compressing with an innovative aesthetic.
  • Global Merino: a maker of technical textiles using merino wool as a base product. It identifies the performance requirements of the item to be created and develops the fabric according to the end use;
  • Shepherd: a vertically integrated producer of merino knits and apparel, including the world’s finest 13.5-micron merino fabric.

New performance codes to better identify innovation
4 new Performance Codes will be introduced at Première Vision Paris in September 2019:  

  • Downproof, to indicate which fabrics will properly block feathers in quiltings;
  • Multilayer, used very often for fabrics for the world of sports performance;
  • Washable, for wash-resistant leathers;
  • Ultralight, used exclusively for accessory components.

A varied and experiential Sport & Tech universe
A.    A virtual reality experience so visitors can fully immerse themselves in the theme

To offer visitors a live experience, Première Vision has designed a digital animation about the theme of protection. Using virtual reality, it is designed to expose visitors to a variety of environments and external elements (cold, wind, etc.).

B.    Dedicated fashion information
Protection doesn’t preclude creativity and style, in fact quite the opposite is true. This season will be marked by fantasy, with materials combining strong colours, prints, motifs and shine. Visitors will thus find an exclusive and creative Sport & Tech forum, built around the following 4 themes: Tech Tailoring, Ski Touring, Soft Outdoor and Snow Fun. It will bring together samples, components and clothing prototypes.

C.    A comprehensive and high-level conference program to help guide visitors in their choices
This edition, the conferences will be held in very central locations at the show. A space in Hall 3 will host the conferences focusing on innovation, and a space in Hall 6 will be reserved for conferences on fashion trends.

Here are some of the upcoming presentations dedicated to the world of Sport & Tech (Hall 6 conference space) taking place at Première Vision Paris September 2019:

  • A conference by Pascal Monfort, founder of the REC trendsmarketing consulting firm, on the theme «The sport & fashion couple: more than ever inseparable!»;
  • The presentation of a study on sport and fashion conducted in the French market by Union Sport & Cycle, which assessed the expectations of 12,500 consumers;
  • Conferences decoding the fashion trends: « Performance, the challenge in fashion » and «Fashion & Sports major influences and innovations for AW 2021» including exhibitors’ pitchs to present their latest innovations.

Sources : 1: Euromonitor International, 2: « Union Sport & Cycle » Study

Photo by pexels.com
11.06.2019

From PET Bottles to Textile Recycling: Where Does the Sports Industry Stand?

  • Recycling: The System in the Sports and Outdoor Industry needs Solutions

Old PET bottles are nowadays used to make polyester clothing, and there are also sports jerseys, outdoor jackets, shirts, trousers and bikinis made of plastic waste. But can textiles and shoes also be recycled? The good news is that some solutions have already been found. However, textiles and shoes can only be recycled with a massive reduction in quality.
 
Recycling of Shoes Possible Since 2018
The world's first industrial recycling plant for all types of footwear has been in operation in Germany since June 2018. It was established by Soex Recycling Germany GmbH from Bitterfeld, which in cooperation with European companies has developed a shoe recycling plant within five years.

More information:
Recycling recycling fibers
Source:

Messe München GmbH

Photo: pasja1000 Pixabay
19.03.2019

SRI LANKA'S APPAREL AND TEXTILE EXPORTS RECEIVE A BOOST

  • Modernization of production facilities required

Thanks to the reactivated GSP import status of the European Union, Sri Lanka's textile and clothing industry is looking to the future with confidence and expects better sales opportunities abroad.

The textile and clothing industry is of macroeconomic importance for Sri Lanka. The sector accounted for almost 43 per cent of the country's total exports in 2018 and provides employment for nearly 350,000 workers in the formal sector and about twice as many in the informal sector. In total, this is about 33 percent of all jobs in the manufacturing industry. The majority of employees are women.

  • Modernization of production facilities required

Thanks to the reactivated GSP import status of the European Union, Sri Lanka's textile and clothing industry is looking to the future with confidence and expects better sales opportunities abroad.

The textile and clothing industry is of macroeconomic importance for Sri Lanka. The sector accounted for almost 43 per cent of the country's total exports in 2018 and provides employment for nearly 350,000 workers in the formal sector and about twice as many in the informal sector. In total, this is about 33 percent of all jobs in the manufacturing industry. The majority of employees are women.

The textile and clothing industry contribute around 6 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP). "In view of the development of other sectors, it is very unlikely that another industry will reach this level of performance in the short to medium term," Jeevani Siriwardena, head of the Export Development Board (EDB), said in an interview with Germany Trade and Invest. The textile and clothing industry will continue to be an important sector for the Sri Lankan economy.

Short to medium-term prospects are good
On May 18th 2017, the European Union (EU) reactivated the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) status for Sri Lanka after a seven-year time-out. This means that when goods are exported to the EU, the island state is exempted from customs duties on more than 66 percent of customs tariff lines. "Without GSP status, Sri Lanka's export losses are said to have cost around 32 billion between 2010 and 2017," stressed Ravindi Ranaraja, Deputy Head of the Export Service Division of EDB, in a GTAI interview. In particular, the strongly export-oriented clothing and textile industry will benefit from the regained GSP status. Sri Lanka's textile and clothing industry is looking to the future with confidence and also expects better sales opportunities abroad.

Sri Lanka's textile and clothing exports to the EU and Germany in 2018
(in USD million; change year-on-year in %)  
HS-Code Definition
 
EU
 
Change
 
Germany *) Change
 
61 Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted 1,177 0.7 232.55 9.6
62 Garments and clothing accessories, not knitted or crocheted 874 7.6 151.59 18.1
63 Other made-up textile articles; sets worn clothing and used textile articles 52 18.2 7.8 13.5
Total   2,103 3.9 391.92 12.8

*) Estimation
Sources: Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association; press releases; calculations by Germany Trade & Invest; Destatis, February 2019

Positive impulses are already visible. According to the latest foreign trade figures available, Sri Lanka was able to increase its total exports of textiles and clothing (HS codes 61, 62 and 63) by almost 4.8 percent to approximately USD 5 billion in 2018. Exports to the EU increased by 3.9 percent to USD 2.1 billion. Exports to Germany were able to recover a plus of 12.8 percent.

It is not yet certain that Sri Lanka will be able to make up for the losses of the past. In the meantime, countries such as Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, which have already enjoyed tariff concessions in foreign trade with the EU for the entire current decade, have passed by the island state. Bangladesh in particular, recorded a strong increase in its clothing and textile exports compared with Sri Lanka..

Sri Lanka textile and clothing exports 2018 (HS codes 61, 62, 63)
Country In USD million 1)
China 172.4
Vietnam 36.0
Bangladesh 32.9
India 20.9
Indonesia 2) 14.0

1) Estimation; 2) Forecast
Sources: Press Releases; Calculations Germany Trade & Invest, February 2019

Sri Lanka focuses on higher quality products
Numerous domestic textile producers are switching to the production of higher-quality garments in order to maintain their competitiveness. "In Sri Lanka, the focus is not on mass but rather on higher quality products," confirmed M. Raghuram, Chief Executive Officer of Brandix, one of the country's largest clothing companies, in an interview with GTAI. The island state concentrates on the production of just a few product categories such as underwear, sportswear or lounge wear..

Sri Lanka has become a location for the manufacture of high-quality garments. This is also confirmed by the World Bank. In its 2016 study "Stitches to Riches" (website), it found that Sri Lanka outperformed its competitors India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in terms of quality, delivery times, reliability and sustainable social responsibility.

Sri Lanka serves fastidious international companies such as Victoria Secrets, GAP, Nike or Marks and Spencer. According to expert estimates, the production of the top 10 Sri Lankan textile and clothing companies accounts for around 85 percent of the industry's total exports.

The ambitious goal is to increase the garment industry's export revenues to USD 8 billion by 2025, which will require an annual growth of 6 percent. For this Sri Lanka must improve capacity, technology and resource problems. "It is becoming more and more difficult to find suitable personnel. For many young people working in the garment and textile industry in Sri Lanka is simply unattractive”, Nilanthi Sivapragasam, Chief Financial Officer of the conglomerate Aitkence Spence, told GTAI. The training of the workforce is also a major challenge. "Training new employees is very time-consuming and labor-intensive," confirms Sivapragasam.

Imports of German machinery decline
In addition, Sri Lanka's textile companies must modernize their machinery and expand their capacities in order to further increase productivity and added value. Accordingly, there is a great demand for technically sophisticated textile machines in the country. This offers good opportunities and chances for machine suppliers. According to experts, the demand for textile printing and dyeing machines, stenter frames and finishing technology will develop particularly dynamically in the future.
 
In Sri Lanka itself only relatively simple machines are being produced. High-end technology is mainly imported. China is the most important supplier of textile machinery, accounting for about one third of all imports. India has also been able to significantly increase its machine exports to Sri Lanka in recent years. In 2017, India achieved exports of USD 6.3 million, an increase of 46.7 percent, compared with exports of USD 2.6 million in 2010.

German machine exports suffered enormous losses. Sri Lanka's imports of textile machinery from Germany amounted to USD 16.5 million in 2017, a decrease of 54.2 percent. Over the past years, Germany has lost share of its deliveries. According to industry experts, this trend will continue: Made in Germany stands for quality and continues to be very popular in Sri Lanka; however, German machine manufacturers are often unable to keep up with the low-cost products from China or India.

Sri Lanka's imports of textile and clothing machinery
(SITC 724; USD million) 
Country 2016 2017 Change
China 56.3 51.8 -8.0
Japan 26.6 18.3 -31.1
Germany 36.0 16.5 -54.2
Singapore 13.6 14.5 -6.8
India 4.3 6.3 46.7
Total 192.8 155.3 -19.5

Source: UN Comtrade, March 2019

Contact addresses
Title Internet address Remark
Germany Trade & Invest http://www.gtai.de/srilanka Foreign trade information for the German export industry
AHK Sri Lanka http://www.srilanka.ahk.de Contact point for German companies
Sri Lanka Export Development Board http://www.srilankabusiness.com/edb State organization responsible for the development and promotion of exports in Sri Lanka. 

 

More information:
Sri Lanka
Source:

Heena Nazir, Germany Trade & Invest www.gtai.de

Photo: Pixabay
15.01.2019

TURKISH APPAREL MANUFACTURERS ANNOUNCE INVESTMENTS

  • Capacity expansion planned by 20 percent

Istanbul (GTAI) - Several major apparel manufacturers plan to significantly expand their production capacities in 2019. The modernization of the factories is on the agenda as well.

Turkey's export-oriented clothing industry scores at European customers with good quality and above all with short delivery times. Recently, they have significantly increased their orders, according to industry sources.

The good order situation is prompting Turkish clothing manufacturers to investments. The 28 larger companies plan to spend around 100 million US dollars in 2019 to expand their capacities. This is the result of a study conducted by the Turkish business magazine Ekonomist (December 9, 2018 issue) in cooperation with the Garment Industry Association TGSD.

  • Capacity expansion planned by 20 percent

Istanbul (GTAI) - Several major apparel manufacturers plan to significantly expand their production capacities in 2019. The modernization of the factories is on the agenda as well.

Turkey's export-oriented clothing industry scores at European customers with good quality and above all with short delivery times. Recently, they have significantly increased their orders, according to industry sources.

The good order situation is prompting Turkish clothing manufacturers to investments. The 28 larger companies plan to spend around 100 million US dollars in 2019 to expand their capacities. This is the result of a study conducted by the Turkish business magazine Ekonomist (December 9, 2018 issue) in cooperation with the Garment Industry Association TGSD.

On average, the companies aimed to increase their capacity by around 20 percent in 2019, the report says. They expected their sales to increase by 15 to 35 percent.

The clothing manufacturer Taha Giyim (http://www.tahagiyim.com), supplier of LC Waikiki, plans to expand its production in the Malatya organized industrial zone. The company plans to invest a total of Turkish Lira 32.2 million (TL; about USD 6.7 million; USD 1 = 4.81 TL) in this project this year and increase its annual shirt production capacity to 2 million pieces. The company is aiming for its sales growth of 40 percent in 2019. In 2018, the estimated revenue was about T.L. 2.5 billion or about USD 520 million.

Higher production of men's outerwear
The company TYH Tekstil (http://www.tyh.com.tr), which manufactures men's outerwear in six plants, plans to expand its production capacity by 15 percent from the current 20 million units per year in 2019. Investments of TL 15 million TL are planned in Akhisar/Manisa (Western Turkey) and Ordu (Black Sea region). The company exports most of its products to the European Union. The aim is to increase deliveries to the USA. The estimated turnover of around USD 140 million in 2018 is expected to increase by 15 percent in 2019.

The manufacturer Yesim Tekstil (http://www.yesim.com), which sews for large textile companies such as Inditex, Esprit and Tommy Hilfiger, plans to double its turnover from around US$ 300 million (2018) to US$ 600 million by 2022. The technological infrastructure (industry 4.0, digitization, cloud computing) is to be expanded. The investment budget for the next five years for the procurement of machinery, plant, software and licenses totals USD 14.4 million.

Denim article manufacturer expands capacities
The manufacturer of denim articles, Calik Denim (http://www.calikdenim.com), plans to increase its production capacity by 30 percent in 2019 with a further USD 8.4 million and to push forward with the modernization of its manufacturing processes. Last year, the company stated that it had invested a total of USD 44.7 million. Calik Denim's goal is to increase its current annual capacity from 44 million meters to 60 million meters by 2020. For 2019, the company is targeting sales growth of 22 percent (2018: USD 189 million).

The company Migiboy Tekstil (http://www.migiboy.com) plans to build a fourth plant for TL 100 million in which previously imported textile raw materials should be produced. The company's goal is to triple its turnover of around TL 300 million (2018) over the next five years.

Sector network of Turkish companies abroad grows
The increasing internationalization of the clothing business is also contributing to the export success. Turkish textile trading companies have opened more than 2,000 branches abroad in recent years. The Koton company alone is growing by 30 percent annually. In 2017, the company ordered goods worth TL 1.8 billion from Turkey for its foreign business. In the foreseeable future, Koton intends to increase its procurement share from Turkey from the current 85 percent to 90 percent. Koton has 516 branches in 29 countries and employs about 10,500 people.

Hadi Karasu, President of the Industry Association (TGSD), sees potential in the German market in particular that has not yet been fully exploited. So far almost one fifth of Turkish clothing exports go to Germany. Karasu believes a share of 25 percent as possible.

In 2018, the apparel industry increased its exports by 3.6 percent to USD 17.6 billion. For 2019, the association TGSD expects an increase of 10 percent. Production is expected to increase by 3 to 4 percent.
Further information to economic situation, sectors, business practice, right, customs and advertisements in Turkey are callable under http://www.gtai.de/tuerkei

 

PIXABAY
04.12.2018

CLOTHING INDUSTRY IN CAMBODIA WITH UNCERTAIN OUTLOOK

  • Exports rise in the country's most important industrial sector.

Phnom Penh (GTAI) - Cambodia's clothing exports are growing steadily. However, two factors cloud the prospects for the future.

Cambodia's garment industry is the backbone of the Kingdom's export-oriented economy. Industry exports account for around 40 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). More than 800,000 Cambodians are employed in over 800 companies. That is more than 85 percent of all factory workers in the country.

Apparel and footwear exports reached USD 8.0 billion in 2017, according to Cambodian customs. This represented an increase of 9.6 percent compared with 2016. Proud growth rates between 7 and almost 15 percent were already achieved in previous years. GTAI estimates on the basis of partner countries' imports an even higher export volume of around USD 12 billion.

  • Exports rise in the country's most important industrial sector.

Phnom Penh (GTAI) - Cambodia's clothing exports are growing steadily. However, two factors cloud the prospects for the future.

Cambodia's garment industry is the backbone of the Kingdom's export-oriented economy. Industry exports account for around 40 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). More than 800,000 Cambodians are employed in over 800 companies. That is more than 85 percent of all factory workers in the country.

Apparel and footwear exports reached USD 8.0 billion in 2017, according to Cambodian customs. This represented an increase of 9.6 percent compared with 2016. Proud growth rates between 7 and almost 15 percent were already achieved in previous years. GTAI estimates on the basis of partner countries' imports an even higher export volume of around USD 12 billion.

More than 70 percent of the country's total exports of goods regularly come from the sector. Shoes accounted for exports of USD 873 million (+14.4 percent) in 2017. Foreign business with shoes has been improving for some years now and has been able to increase its share of exports to over 10 percent. With an unchanged share of 46 percent compared to the previous year, the EU continued to play a major role among the customers in 2017, followed by the USA with 24 percent.

The value-added volume of the sector is low and the road to an integrated textile industry in Cambodia is still long. Machines, raw materials and design come from abroad in the form of a CMT model ("Cut Make Trim"). Fabrics, yarns and haberdashery have to be imported in order to keep the local clothing industry "on the runway". In 2016, according to the United Nations Comtrade Database, USD 4.1 billion worth of textiles came into the country for processing - about 60 percent of which came from China. Textile imports have risen proportionally to clothing exports in recent years.

The garment industry is dominated by foreign companies, mostly from the Asian neighborhood China, Hong Kong (SVR), Singapore, Malaysia or South Korea. Many manufacturers produce to order for multinational brands such as Adidas, Puma, Gap, H&M, Marks & Spencer or Uniqlo. In principle, the complete contract manufacturing is intended for export.

Rising wages fuel fear of competition
After years of growth the sector is looking to the future with concern. The country is increasingly in danger of losing market share to its competitors - for example in Myanmar, Vietnam or Bangladesh - primarily due to rising wage costs. In January 2018, the monthly minimum wage for workers was raised to USD 170, up from USD 153. Compared to 2013, when a minimum of USD 80 was required by law, there has now been more than a doubling.

The annual agenda included regular increases of around 10 percent. According to the Cambodia Garment and Footwear Sector Bulletin of the International Labor Organization (ILO), workers who worked the full month, including overtime payments and incentives, were paid an average wage of just under USD 243 in 2017. Last year, it was USD 225.

In the past, low wages were mainly responsible for the attractiveness and competitiveness of Cambodian industry. This advantage is crumbling year after year as a result of the increase of minimum wages. An end to this politically motivated development is not in sight. The government can imagine, referring to expert recommendations, that minimum wages will be raised to USD 250 per month by 2023.

If the trend continues, companies are likely to migrate and not too many new investors will pitch their tents in Cambodia, critics warn. In 2017, sector companies invested nearly USD 270 million in 55 projects. This represented 5 per cent of the Kingdom's total investments. In the previous year, this share had been 9 percent.

Industry representatives complain that the costs grow faster than the productivity. Automation of production processes is becoming more and more urgent in order to keep up with productivity. However, both the lack of skilled workers and an infrastructure in need of improvement are serious bottleneck factors. There are also critics who are generally pessimistic about a possible automation in the sector. Cambodia could only score points through low labor cost advantages. Automated mass production is reserved for countries that have a reliable and cost-effective power supply and are closer to the sales markets.

Will the trade routes to the EU remain free?
Even more worrying would be the EU's cancellation of the preferential trading system EBA ("Everything But Arms"). Finally, the exemption of Cambodian clothing from customs duties is at stake on the main market. A discontinuation is likely to trigger a wave of migration of the clothing industry. Quite a few companies have taken the EBA initiative alone as an opportunity to establish themselves in the Kingdom.

In addition, the view wanders across the border to Vietnam. Manufacturers there could soon benefit from a free trade agreement with the EU. Vietnam is also participating at the Asia-Pacific Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), while Cambodia remains outside. If the trade arrangements remain unchanged, Cambodia may get off with a black eye. However, the other factors should not be ignored. Transport and general export costs are also considered comparatively high compared with Vietnam or China.

Cambodian exporters are currently benefiting from the trade dispute between the USA and China. The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) semi-annual report supports this assumption. According to the study, apparel and footwear exports rose by 11 percent in the first six months of 2018 compared to the same period of last year to reach a volume of USD 4 billion. Since July 2016, clothing, shoes and travel goods (suitcases, bags, etc.) can be delivered duty-free to the USA. According to the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC), shipments of travel goods to the USA in the first half of 2018 reached an amount of around USD 160 million - three times the previous annual exports.

Cambodia's imports of textile machinery amounted to USD 127.3 million (SITC 724) in 2017 according to the UN Comtrade database. This was 11.4 percent more than in the previous year. About 60 percent of the capital goods came from China; the remaining deliveries are relatively evenly distributed among other Asian countries. German deliveries only appear very sparsely in the statistics. Used machines from abroad are more likely to be in demand, but are not recorded statistically.

More information:
cambodja Asien GTAI
Source:

Michael Sauermost, Germany Trade & Invest www.gtai.de

06.11.2018

CHINESE ENGAGEMENT IN EAST AFRICA UNDERGOING CHANGE

Cooperation and local production the new trend

Cooperation and local production the new trend

Nairobi (GTAI) - China dominates infrastructure projects and the construction industry in East Africa. But now the Kingdom of the Middle is also intensifying its commitment in trade and industry.

The Chinese advance in East Africa is breathtakingly fast, focused, efficient and highly successful. The approach is simple: one makes a business proposal that meets the wishes of the decision-makers, brings everything with you, including financing, and the project will be brought out with Confucian efficiency.

Because the customer is satisfied, follow-up orders are being placed. And the more orders there are, the more Chinese activities are there that no longer have anything to do with the original project: Trade, housing construction and business start-ups. And the more the debt with Chinese financiers rises, the more their interest grows in ensuring that the debt can be serviced.

China is fast - on its terms
In Kenya, the Chinese breakthrough came with the comparatively short road from Nairobi to Thika. The international donor community was willing to finance a road construction project, but only at the usual terms, such as regular feasibility studies and tenders, but at favorable interest rates. During the term of office of the former acting President at the time, all this would not have been completed.

Meanwhile, the Chinese made a different offer: shortest construction time and commercial credit with free hand and political backing. Residence permits were issued in an urgent procedure, and work had already begun before necessary expropriations had been completed. Everything was brought along, even truck drivers and food. Deliveries were made on time for the end of the President's term of office.

If customers are satisfied, there are follow-up orders. For example, a new railway - the favorite project of the current Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta - is also being built, financed and operated by the Chinese. The usual donors, such as the World Bank, had previously declined because the project was unlikely to pay off economically. Thanks to Chinese commitment, the first route from Mombasa to Nairobi was completed in time for the presidential election campaign and could be marketed as a political success. The fact that, in the opinion of critics, that the section was three times as expensive as necessary, was not contested by the voters.

Chinese appearance in the ripening process
Chinese companies had learned a lot from the first road project: They now know what the Kenyan business world and industry can and can't do, what they need, how they tick, how to do business in Kenya and how to deal with bureaucracy and widespread corruption, what cartels and monopolies one has to fear and how to deal with them if necessary.

Thanks to this knowledge and preferential treatment in work permits, Chinese construction and trading companies were able to gain a foothold within a very short space of time. And the more Kenyan government orders go to Chinese companies and the more Chinese traders gain a foothold in Kenya, the more Chinese goods flood the country.

But not only that: Chinese companies have been founded to manufacture locally. In addition, hordes of Kenyan workers are employed or Kenyan goods are being purchased if they are cheaper and/or better, or, logistically speaking, can they be procured more quickly. Kenyan companies and workers have also learned what is important to the Chinese partners - a learning and maturing process on both sides. Some Chinese people have married local and want to stay.

State acquisition perfected
Meanwhile, Chinese companies have virtually "perfected" their government procurement, reports the leading Kenyan daily newspaper "The Nation" with a sarcastic undertone: Chinese acquirers use an English first name that can be remembered and pronounced and, accompanied by a politically well-connected "fixer", visit together a cabinet secretary or the head of a semi-state company and make a proposal for a major infrastructure project combined with the promise to provide the financing.

A "Memorandum of Understanding" is then signed very quickly, followed by a commercial contract with the responsible ministry. Then only the Ministry of Finance has to sign the loan agreement and the deal is perfect. Parliament, budget controllers and the state auditor are excluded. The fact that high commissions and so-called kickbacks (bribes) are being paid in these transactions is in the nature of things.

German companies that participate in Chinese projects may be familiar with this background and are therefore usually very cautious. In other words: German-Chinese business relations in East Africa are reluctantly hanged on the big bell, because the German reputation could suffer. The German-Chinese business relationships that have nevertheless become known are quite different but show a range of possibilities.

Professional cooperation without ideology
On the one hand, there are German companies which are based in China, either independently, as joint ventures or in the form of cooperation. Such companies are considered "Chinese" because they know the rules of the game, the correspondence can be conducted in Chinese and the bank account exists in China. Then there are other German companies with whom one has already worked successfully together in Germany or elsewhere in the world - so why not again? And there are German companies that have a lot of experience in Africa and are well networked, such as consulting firms that can take over construction supervision. It is often the Kenyan client who demands a neutral and professional watchdog.

Many German products are appreciated by the Chinese. If a German company in Kenya is successful with construction chemicals, a Chinese company will also like to come back on them. And if a German construction machine has the desired specifications, it is also being bought by Chinese people in Kenya.

Chinese companies are first and foremost concerned with business and not ideology. German products and services have a good reputation worldwide, even among Chinese people. If China did not used them for its first projects in East Africa, it was because of a lack of knowledge of what is locally available and what is not. In the meantime, this has changed dramatically. And like everywhere in business life, contacts count and they need time to be established.

Chinese are the new Indians
It can already be foreseen that the driving force behind new industrial projects in Kenya will no longer come from entrepreneurs of Indian origin, but from Chinese ones. Once planned Chinese-built industrial parks are completed, there will be a wave of Chinese investment. If these investors first look at Chinese technology, it is only because they are better acquainted with the Chinese market. Anyone who knows and appreciates German products, on the other hand, will know how to weigh up the commercial advantages and disadvantages. For example, one of the first Chinese industrial projects in Kenya, the building materials supplier China Wu Yi Precast, has primarily installed German technology.

Farthest in Ethiopia
What applies to Kenya also applies to Ethiopia, where the Chinese advance is already much further ahead. There, too, the Chinese have built a railway, much more modern and cheaper than in Kenya. And more importantly, they are building industrial parks throughout the country where international companies can find good conditions for low-wage production. The first textile, clothing and leather factories report successes. Food processing and pharmaceutical companies are coming in a second wave. Of course, there are many Chinese companies in it, but not only. And, of course, German companies have good sales opportunities if they make the appropriate marketing efforts.

In Uganda are Chinese traders who have been mixing up the local market. The great Chinese engagement will only come with the start of the oil production and when the Kenyan railway has reached the Ugandan border. In Tanzania, the Chinese currently have less to report because the incumbent president, who is committed to fighting corruption, wants it that way. Instead of Chinese, he gets his railroad built by Turks. Meanwhile, Djibouti has become so heavily indebted to China that its influence can no longer be stopped.

New tones from Beijing
While the Chinese progress all over East Africa - even without Tanzania - can no longer be stopped, it remains exciting to see to what extent new tones from Beijing will affect China's involvement in East Africa. The Chinese leadership has declared its intention to curb corruption in its own government. If it is serious about this, it will also have to introduce stricter rules in its East Africa business.

And then there is the "socialism with Chinese characteristics" propagated by Chinese President Xi Jinping, with which he wants to make the world happy. So far it has been Western Europe and North America that have aggressively propagated their democracy as a form of government and political ideology in Africa. It seems that Xi Jinping now wants to counter this with Chinese principles. Chinese reforms can also be expected in the areas of environmental protection and sustainability, which at some point will also affect Chinese Africa business.

Investment projects in East African countries with Chinese participation
Country Project Investment mio. USD Status Note
Ethiopia Gas production and export 4,300 Talks Start 2020 Poly Group / GCL China
Ethiopia Industrial park 2,000 – 2,500 Different project statuses Developers primarily Chinese companies
Dschibuti Gas pipeline between Ethiopia and Djibouti 4,000 Talks; start of gas production mid-2019 Poly Group/GCL Petroleum Group Holdings Ltd. (both PR China)
Dschibuti 48 sqkm Chinese Free Zone 340 Under construction; largely completed in 2019 Dalian Port Corp., China Merchants Holdings (both PR China), Djibouti Ports and Free Zone Authority
Kenya High Grand Falls Dam (Kibuka) 1,500 Contract awarded; start of construction still pending China State Construction Engineering Corporation
Kenya Standard gauge railway Nairobi-Naivasha 1,500 Under construction; anticipated completion: September 2019 China Road and Bridge Corporation
Tanzania Mchuchuma Coal and Liganga Iron Ore Project 3,000 Planning Sichuan Hongda Group of China
Uganda Development of an oil production infrastructure More than 10,000 Development of a master plan Development of a master plan Joint project between Total, Tullow Oil and China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC)
Uganda Uganda Crude Oil Pipeline through Tanzania to Indian Ocean 3,600 Front End Engineering Design (FEED) completed Joint projects of Total, Tullow Oil and CNOOC
Uganda 800 MW Ayago hydropower plant N.A. Letter of intend Desired partner: China

Source: Research by Germany Trade & Invest

The entire study "China in Africa - Perspectives, Strategies and Cooperation Potentials for German Companies" is available free of charge: Print version under order number 21054 (32 pages) at Germany Trade & Invest, Kundencenter, Postfach 140116, 53056 Bonn, Germany, Telephone: 0228/24993-316, e-mail: vertrieb@gtai.de or as PDF document (german only) after short registration at http://www.gtai.de/china-in-afrika.

Source:

Martin Böll, Germany Trade and Invest www.gtai.de

European press conference on 6 September 2018 in Madrid for imm cologne/LivingKitchen 2019 © Koelnmesse GmbH
02.10.2018

FURNITURE INDUSTRY GREW ONLY MARGINALLY BY 1% IN THE FIRST HALF-YEAR

  • Almost 1 in 3 pieces of furniture is exported
  • 14% of furniture sales now online

At the European press conference in September 2018 in Madrid for imm co-logne/LivingKitchen 2019, Jan Kurth, Chief Executive of the Association of the German Furniture Industry (VDM), reported on the state of business in the sector:

  • Almost 1 in 3 pieces of furniture is exported
  • 14% of furniture sales now online

At the European press conference in September 2018 in Madrid for imm co-logne/LivingKitchen 2019, Jan Kurth, Chief Executive of the Association of the German Furniture Industry (VDM), reported on the state of business in the sector:

At the end of an exceptionally hot summer, which has driven consumers to outdoor pools and beer gardens rather than furniture showrooms, the German furniture industry looks back on correspondingly subdued growth in the sector. Following a decline in sales in the second half of 2017, the business climate for manufacturers did improve slightly in the first half of 2018, but the bottom line is that furniture sales have stalled, especially within Germany. While the year began distinctly positively on the back of imm cologne, a significant slowdown in business subsequently set in.
From January to June, sales in the sector reached approximately Euro 9.1 billion, just 1 per cent higher than in the same period of the previous year. Following a 0.7 per cent fall in sales for 2017 as a whole, marked in particular by a negative trend in the second half-year (–1.6%), German furniture manufacturers were thus able to generate slight sales growth, but the situation remains disappointing.

Growth stimulus comes from abroad
This marginal increase in sales was exclusively attributable to international business, since sales outside Germany grew in the first six months by 2.7 per cent in comparison with the same period of the previous year. Domestic sales, on the other hand, stagnated with a minimal rise of 0.3 per cent. Export business benefitted from revived demand in key European sales markets and, increasingly, from the positive economic development in the major growth regions outside the EU. Almost one third of German furniture exports are now sold to non-EU countries.

Results of the latest VDM survey
In summer 2018, the VDM conducted a survey of the economic situation faced by companies in the sector. Participants rated the current business climate as satisfactory (34%) to poor (40%), with only 26 per cent judging it to be good. Compared with summer 2017, the situation for business had worsened in the view of 51 per cent of those surveyed.

State of export business better than domestic market
The disparity between the domestic market and export business is also reflected in the business survey. While most respondents (57%) judged the situation for domestic business as poor, an overwhelming number of manufacturers considered the situation for export business to be good (29%) to satisfactory (56%).

The current difficulties in domestic demand are largely confirmed by the furniture retail sector. Naturally, the long period of high temperatures moved many activities outdoors, but still this explanation falls short. To discover a little more about this, the VDM commissioned a representative study from the prestigious market research institute Kantar TNS, which put the furniture buying behaviour of Germans under the microscope. We were particularly interested to learn where people seek information about furniture and where they buy it. Do they look at advertising supplements in daily newspapers or rather retailers’ websites? Are people increasingly buying furniture online, or is the official sales channel statistic correct, which has been citing an almost stable figure of between 7 and 8 per cent for several years?

Customers increasingly seek information online
First, a look at the information sources. Overall, the furniture store itself – that is to say, looking at furniture in person – remains the most important source of information (68%), followed by brochures from furniture showrooms (54%). But 48 per cent of all those surveyed now use the Internet as a source of information and inspiration. In the younger target groups (<40 years old), the significance of the information source sees a clear shift, with the Internet dominating (77%) but furniture stores still being used by 63 per cent.

When it comes to formal educational attainment, there is a clear correlation with the information sources used. Those with a lower level of education favour brochures and advertising from furniture stores. The higher the level of education, the more buyers actively seek information online.

80% have bought large furniture items in the past 5 years
Online shopping or a trip to the shops? Generally speaking, over 80 per cent of Germans have bought relatively large items of furniture in the past five years. As can be expected, this proportion tails off with increasing age. Of those who bought furniture, 75 per cent carried out this latest transaction in a furniture store. Just under 10 per cent of shoppers bought from a purely online retailer and only 4 per cent purchased via the website of a furniture retailer. This gives a 14 per cent share of sales now taking place online and thus double the figure given out by the official sales channel statistics. In terms of online shoppers, people living alone and the under-30s lead by a clear margin. As young people get older, they are unlikely to move away from online shopping for furniture, and new “Internet savvy” consumers enter the market, the “normality threshold” for the remaining age groups is also expected to fall. There is therefore clearly still a great deal of potential for online furniture sales, and the industry and trade would be well advised to exploit this potential through engaging concepts and information suited to the target groups, moving away from discount and clearance promotions.

Additional online potential
We also see the growth of online business as offering opportunities for the furniture sector as a whole. Firstly, the fixation on prices and discounts is not as pronounced online as in highly concentrated bricks-and-mortar retail. Secondly, the short delivery times and short-notice availability typical of online trading tend to be served more flexibly from internal German sources than from Asia.

Official assessment: sales in the individual segments
According to official statistics, the individual segments in the German furniture industry developed unevenly between January and June 2018. Kitchen furniture manufacturers recorded sales growth of 4 per cent to around Euro 2.5 billion. The office furniture industry reported a distinctly positive result with sales of around Euro 1.1 billion (+7.9%). Manufacturers of shop and contract furniture saw a year-on-year increase of 7.2 per cent and generated sales of around Euro 920 million.

Manufacturers of upholstered furniture registered a noticeable decline, with sales falling by 5.3 per cent to around Euro 480 million from January to June 2018. With a drop of 1.6 per cent to Euro 3.7 billion, the sales performance in household furniture, other furniture and furniture parts was also more negative than the industry average. The smallest segment in the industry – mattresses – recorded the most significant decline in sales of 12.8 per cent to Euro 400 million. This must, however, be put in the context of the above-average growth in sales in this segment in recent years.

Furniture industry generates new jobs
We now take a look at the employment figures for the industry. The 482 businesses currently operating with more than 50 staff (–2.2%) employ 84,300 men and women, which is slightly above (+0.7%) the previous year’s level. Approximately 600 new jobs have been created in the industry in the last year, despite the difficult market conditions.

Compared with the same period of the previous year, German furniture exports in the first half of 2018 grew by 2.2 per cent to Euro 5.5 billion. With an increase of 1.2 per cent, sales to EU countries only crept slightly above the previous year’s level, thus developing much more sluggishly than exports as a whole. Having said this, exports to the German furniture industry’s largest external market, France, achieved growth of 3.5 per cent, and the Dutch (+6.2%), Polish (+10%) and Spanish (+6.1%) markets also saw positive developments from the perspective of the German furniture industry. However, furniture exports to the important sales markets of Austria (–1.3%) and Switzerland (–3.8%) declined.

Negative trend in Great Britain
The furniture industry also clearly felt the negative effects of the Brexit negotiations and the fall in the pound over the course of the previous year, with furniture exports to Great Britain contracting by 8.9 per cent in the first half of 2018. No other major export market performed as badly as the United Kingdom from the perspective of German furniture manufacturers.

Boom in exports to the USA, China and Russia
The key growth markets for German furniture now lie outside the EU. The outstanding performance of German furniture manufacturers in the largest growth markets of the USA (+9.5%), China (+25.9%) and Russia (+14%) is particularly noteworthy. Given the size of each of these markets and the strong demand for high-quality furniture, these figures are sure to see further growth. Other markets outside Europe, such as Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, are currently developing well, although exports to these countries are still at a relatively low level. Overall, the non-EU market is expected to become an important driver for growth for the German furniture industry in the years ahead.

Export ratio up by 32.6%
The industry’s export ratio – that is to say, the proportion of goods shipped directly abroad by domestic furniture manufacturers against total sales by the industry – climbed to 32.6 per cent in the first half of 2018, thereby achieving a new record. The corresponding figure for the first half of 2017 reached 32.1 per cent. This means that the furniture industry’s export ratio has doubled since the turn of the millennium.

Furniture “made in Germany” highly regarded
The success of German furniture manufacturers abroad can be put down to the quality, reliability of supply, design and individuality of our products. German manufacturers often have a better grip on processes and logistics than their international competitors. These are important selling points for consumers – whether they be in Shanghai, St Petersburg or San Francisco.

Greater support for exporters
In view of the increasing importance of exports for the industry, the VDM will be expanding the support it offers exporting companies. A new VDM Export working group aims to encourage dialogue between individual manufacturers, identify the main markets and coordinate export and trade fair activities for the industry as a whole. Information days and workshops for furniture manufacturers will be organised to share industry-specific expertise relating to the individual export markets. Practical tools will also be made available to support the successful involvement of German furniture manufacturers abroad. These additional export activities are intended to help German furniture manufacturers to grow their market share on the world market.

Slight increase in imports
Import competition remains strong: after German furniture imports achieved growth of 0.8 per cent to Euro 12.7 billion for 2017 as a whole, in the first half of 2018 they rose by a further 0.6 per cent to Euro 6.6 billion. However, the trade deficit reduced by 8.1 per cent to around Euro 1.2 billion in the same period as a result of substantially increased exports. Overall, furniture imports to Germany from eastern Europe are increasingly gaining ground from their Asian competitors. Poland enjoyed growth of 7.4 per cent and, as has been the case for a number of years, remained by far the largest source country in terms of furniture volume. Nowadays, more than one in four pieces of furniture (26.3%) imported into Germany originates from our neighbour to the east. The Czech Republic remains the third-largest source of imports with a slight rise of 0.7 per cent. Altogether, imports from EU countries achieved a significant increase of 1.8 per cent. By contrast, imports from Asia fell disproportionately (–5.9%), especially from Vietnam (–12.3%), Taiwan (–13.9%) and Indonesia (–9.8%). Imports from the second-largest originating country, China, declined significantly with a drop of 5.2 per cent. The structure of German furniture imports is highly concentrated, with around 56 per cent of all German furniture imports now attributable solely to the three largest supplier countries: Poland, China and the Czech Republic.

56% of all imports from Poland, China and the Czech Republic
Almost two thirds of participants in the VDM survey expect the business outlook to remain the same in the six months ahead. 24 per cent anticipate an improvement in the situation and just 12 per cent a worsening. According to the assessment of the respondents, the major factors affecting the trading climate in the next six months will be increasing prices of raw materials (33% of respondents), a shortage of skilled personnel (27%), growing pressure from imports (18%) and increasingly protectionist trade policies (9%).

Rising material costs hit the industry hard
The rising cost of materials as regards solid wood are seen as a particular obstacle for development in the sector. Companies in the German furniture industry taking part in the survey report an average increase of 9 per cent in the cost of solid wood when compared with summer 2017. Prices of wood-based materials increased by 5 per cent in the same period, with logistics costs also up by 5 per cent and staffing costs by 3 per cent. Given the market power of purchasing associations, it is not possible to pass on this rise in costs in full to the German furniture retail trade.

Forecast for the current year: +1%
While the contribution of foreign markets to German furniture industry sales is expected to remain positive in the second half-year, in view of the very significant growth in recent times, there are clouds on the horizon as far as domestic trade is concerned. Consumer confidence in Germany is also on the wane. Economic forecasts for this year have recently been revised downwards by leading economists. On this basis, we continue to anticipate sales growth at the end of the year by around 1 per cent in 2018.

 

More information:
imm cologne Furniture market
Source:

Jan Kurth, Chief Executive of the Association of the German Furniture Industry (VDM), at the European press conference on 6 September 2018 in Madrid for imm cologne/LivingKitchen 2019

CHIC Shanghai - THE MOTTO 'NEW MAKERS' BY CHIC INTERPRETS THE PROGRESSIVE CHANGE IN THE CHINESE FASHION BUSINESS Photo: JANDALI MODE.MEDIEN.MESSEN
26.06.2018

CHIC Shanghai - THE MOTTO 'NEW MAKERS' INTERPRETS THE PROGRESSIVE CHANGE IN THE CHINESE FASHION BUSINESS

  • The important trade fair platform for entry into the Chinese consumer market with China's most influential consumer group for the fashion and beauty sector with the strongest growth in consumption - the millennials - as target group
  • The international fashion showcase for decision makers with an overview of na-tional and international fashion brands
  • Strategic market development through comprehensive visitor marketing for inter-national brands at CHIC

 
CHIC, China International Fashion Fair presents around 800 exhibitors in an exhibition space of approx. 50,000 sqm (CHIC in March 100,000 sqm) in two halls from 27 to 29 September 2018 at the National Exhibition & Convention Center in Shanghai.

  • The important trade fair platform for entry into the Chinese consumer market with China's most influential consumer group for the fashion and beauty sector with the strongest growth in consumption - the millennials - as target group
  • The international fashion showcase for decision makers with an overview of na-tional and international fashion brands
  • Strategic market development through comprehensive visitor marketing for inter-national brands at CHIC

 
CHIC, China International Fashion Fair presents around 800 exhibitors in an exhibition space of approx. 50,000 sqm (CHIC in March 100,000 sqm) in two halls from 27 to 29 September 2018 at the National Exhibition & Convention Center in Shanghai.
The current conditions for international fashion companies in the Chinese market offer significant improvements for international brands. Import tariffs will be lowered from 15.9% to 7.1% to further promote the import and upgrade of the industry.  

The McKinsey study "THE `Chinese consumer´ no longer exists” defines Chinese consumers no longer as interested only in low prices, but as selective, healthconscious with diverse shopping hab-its and preferences. The fashion awareness changes to an individual sense of style, influenced by international and national trends. China's millennials are the WORLD'S most influential consumer group, with a 16% share of the population, driving consumption growth in the Chinese market and contributing more than 20% from today until 2030.  
 
According to the edition's motto "New Makers", Asia's leading fashion fair is picking up on the latest changes in the Chinese fashion market and providing the essential tools for the Chinese market. The new, young design of the fair, which was launched in March this year at CHIC, is being ex-panded. The individual sections of CHIC present the latest trends in the Chinese and international fashion market. CHIC connects and brokers partnerships and launches the new generation gar-ment industry, which builds on high-tech strategies and interlinks industrial production with modern information and communication technologies, relying on intelligent, digitally networked systems in self-organized production.

The individual fashion areas of CHIC  
FASHION JOURNEY puts the focus on interna-tional exhibitors. In addition to the large Italian pavilion, the French pavilion "Paris Forever" and the Korean show-inshow "Preview in China", in-dividual participants from Poland, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Japan and the USA use CHIC as a bridge in the Chinese market. The next German group participation is planned for March 2019, whereby Germany will also be rep-resented with individual brands such as ESISTO in the area NEW LOOK.

IMPULSES, CHIC's designer section, features emerging designer brands such as Junne, Hua Mu Shen, King Ping, Anjaylia, Mao Mart homme, Tuffcan, etc.

The SUSTAINABILITY ZONE, first showcased at CHIC in the fall of 2017, is receiving even greater emphasis due to the increasing environmental and health awareness of Chinese consum-ers, featuring sustainable supply chain solutions, sustainable innovation and sustainable fashion collections. Programs such as Chemical Stewardship 2020, Carbon Stewardship 2020, Water Stewardship 2020 and Circular Stewardship 2020 are presented. The womenswear section NEW LOOK of CHIC presents next to the leading Chinese brands like AVRALA, and CMH also international brands like Saint James from France, ESISTO from Ger-many, Trenz Eight from Canada or PN JONE, USA.

Beside the suppliers of classic menswear, URBAN VIEW, the menswear section, also includes casualwear brands like NRDMA and SUPIN as well as bespoke companies like H. Pin& Tack, Jin Yuan Yang, Fa Lan Qian Mu, Long Sheng and DANDINGHE.
CHIC YOUNG BLOOD shows young lifestyle brands, KID'S PARADISE offers e.g the largest fashion group in China for children's fashion XTEP KIDS.

SECRET STARS (fashion accessories), SHANGHAI BAG (bags), HERITAGE (leather & fur), SUPERIOR FACTORY (ODM) and FUTURE LINK (services) complete the fashion offer at CHIC. FUTURE LINK gathers fashion service providers for among others supply chain solutions, smart retail and smart production, RFID, laser technology and data utilization.

Visitor management
On the rise in China's retail scene, multi brand and custom stores are the fastest growing offline sector. The number has increased significantly in the last five years from less than 100 to more than 5,000 stores. Exclusive shopping experiences and an individual offer are important. Custom-ers value a wide range of products: a mix of international and national exclusive brands is the most common concept.

The high investments of the CHIC organizers in the visi-tor management for the fair pay off: CHIC has a per-sonalized trade visitor database of over 200,000 con-tacts, which are used intensively for the visitor marketing in the run-up to the fair for a commercial matching for the exhibitors. At the fair, VIP match making activities will take place especially for selected international brands, that will have the opportunity to present them-selves there and make the relevant contacts in the Chi-nese trade. Meetings are organized among others with multi brand stores and buyers such as The Fashion Door, Dong Liang, Jing Dong, VIP Shop and department stores, and retailers such as Carrefour, Amazon, De-cathlon, Wang Fujing, etc. An important tool for the CHIC visitor marketing is social media; for this special programs are run, in which individual brands are pre-sented to prospective visitors.    

CHIC is visited by representatives of all distribution channels for distribution in the Chinese market, at the last event in autumn 2017 more than 65,722 visitors from all over China and other nations were registered at the CHIC, with a significant increase in multi brand stores.
 
Seminars and shows

The future of fashion business in China will be discussed in a panel of experts as part of CHIC TALKS. Furthermore, a trend seminar from WGSN for FW 2019 and a workshop on bag and shoe production from the Moda Pelle Academy are planned.

CHIC shows provide an overview of selected international brands.

CHIC is organized by Beijing Fashion Expo. Co. ltd. and China World Exhibitions, supported by China National Garment Association, The Sub-Council of Textile Industry (CCPIT) and China World Trade Center.

Furniture market in France Photo: Pixabay
24.04.2018

FURNITURE MARKET IN FRANCE IS GROWING VIGOROUSLY

  • Sales of Kitchens and Beds is outperforming
  • E-commerce puts pressure on the Sector

Paris (GTAI) - Furniture sales in France rose sharply in 2017 for the third year in a row, although the record level of 2011 has not yet been reached. This is reported by the association FNAEM in its annual balance sheet and refers to the close connection with the booming housing market. This also should push the furniture sector in 2018.

  • Sales of Kitchens and Beds is outperforming
  • E-commerce puts pressure on the Sector

Paris (GTAI) - Furniture sales in France rose sharply in 2017 for the third year in a row, although the record level of 2011 has not yet been reached. This is reported by the association FNAEM in its annual balance sheet and refers to the close connection with the booming housing market. This also should push the furniture sector in 2018.

After growth rates of 2.4 and 2.3 percent in 2015 and 2016 the French furniture market has again achieved a stable growth of 2 percent in 2017. According to the FNAEM Federation (Federation française du negoce de la ameublement et de equipement de la maison), the market developments are closely linked to the housing and real estate markets. According to the association, every third furniture purchase was made by a household that has moved within the last 24 months.
 
In 2017 16 percent more homes were built in France compared to the previous year. By the end of October 2017, the real estate market also had also registered 16 percent more transactions. The FFB (Federation française du batiment) expects a strong total construction activity again but with a slight decline of 2.5 per cent in the construction of new housing in 2018.

The development of the overall economy and the political environment also have a strong influence on the furniture market. For example, the presidential elections and the change of government in France led to an initial uncertainty among consumers and delays in the awarding of public contracts. Sales of furniture initially developed weakly in the first half of 2017, but then all the more dynamically.

Furniture market in France 2017
  Sales 2017 (in Euro billion) Change  2017/16 (in %) Share (in %)
Kitchen furniture 2.57 4.0 26.3
Upholstered furniture (sofas, armchairs and benches) 2.42 2.3 24.8
Beds 1.34 3.0 13.8
Bathroom furniture 0.24 -1.6 2.5
Garden furniture 0.13 2.0 1.4
Other home furniture (tables, chairs, chests, drawers) 3.06 0.1 31.2
Total 9.76 2.0 100.0

Source: IPEA (Institut de prospective et d'etudes de l'ameublement)

Most strongly grew the kitchens segment in 2017, whereas in recent years in particular bedroom furniture led the sales. Kitchens are particularly benefiting from the improving housing market and a continuing trend in French households to pay more attention to kitchen equipment.

Fitted kitchens gain market share
According to an analysis by the market research company IPEA (Institut de prospective et d'étes de l'ameublement), only 60 percent of households in France have fitted kitchens, much less than in other Western European countries (Germany: around 80 percent). This difference promises good growth rates for this segment for years to come.
According to the market researchers, the gap between the well-running segment of sofas and armchairs over benches is increasing in favor of upholstered furniture. Above all, folding sofas, which are always offered cheaper, continue to make competition to banks.

Other home furniture such as tables, chairs or chests, which continue to make the majority of the market, were, according to the FNAEM association, unable to make up much ground in retailing compared to kitchens and beds in 2017. Also, in 2018, according to the association's expectations, there will be no signs of recovery. According to FNAEM at most the online trade should continue to grow in the home furniture segment.
The sales of garden furniture benefited from warm weather periods in spring 207, which extended the sales season. According to IPEA bathroom furniture could not fully benefit from the upturn in the housing market in 2017. The business often depends on the hardware stores, which often promote low-cost products. Installers would have sold less bathroom furniture in favor of heating systems.
 
Good sales forecasts for beds
The bedroom segment, the leader in growth in recent years, has developed less strongly in 2017. IPEA attributes this to a tougher competition with more price promotions. Lower prices had slowed the sales despite good volumes. The buyers continue to ask for larger beds sizes with a width of 160 cm.

According to a study by the market research firm Xerfi, the bedding segment is expected to grow steadily by 3.3 percent per year until 2019, supported by the housing market and higher disposable income. French consumers would also exchange their mattresses now more often. According to the trade Frenchmen buy a new mattress every 14 year, whereas this happens in the US every eight years. The association of the mattress industry calls 13,5 for Germany.

Retailers operate multichannel strategy
However, the competition in the bed and mattress market is growing, above all due to the success of e-commerce. Online mattress suppliers such as Casper from the USA (with production in Germany), Tediber and Ilobed from France or Simba and Eve Sleep from the UK have launched massive advertising campaigns in France. According to estimations of the providers, they now have reached a market share of about 5 to 6 percent in the mattress segment.

The stationary trade with furniture stores like Ikea, Conforama or But and the bed specialists Maison de la literie, Compagnie du lit or Litrimarche defend themselves against the pure on-line offerors. All major retailers now operate a multichannel strategy, meaning that they try not only to sell in their furniture stores but also via their own online channels. At the same time the shops are upgraded by events, more advice or more frequently changing exhibitions.

Leading in France are the large furniture stores Ikea, Conforama and But. Market leader Ikea claims a market share of 19.4 percent in 2017. Conforama and But did not publish any shares for 2017 but came to 16.1 and 13.4 percent respectively in 2016. According to estimates by IPEA, online commerce accounts for a total market share of around 12 percent. Half of this is accounted for by pure online providers and internet sales by conventional, previously purely stationary, providers.

Ikea aims for a 10 percent online share in France. Conforama claims to already generate 10 percent of its sales via the Internet. However, the company also offers entertainment and household electronics. Of the online furniture purchases, 82 percent are still being picked up at the stores. Conforma wants to do justice to this with additional furniture markets in the low-price segment. At the same time, other sales rooms should be created in which new furnishing ideas will be presented.

Furniture retail in France by sales channel 2017
  Sales 2017 (in EUR billion) Change 2017/16 (in %)
Furniture stores 4.91 +0.9
Kitchenhouses 1.30 +6.0
Furniture stores, medium segment 1.02 +1.4
Luxury furniture stores 0.37 +2.0
Craft 0.33 -0.4
E-Commerce, catalog-trading and others 1.83 +3.3
Total 9.76 +2.0

Source: IPEA

Conforama joined the French online pioneer Showroomprive.com in 2017 as an investor, hoping to gain expertise in online marketing. Due to the impending bankruptcy of the South African parent company Steinhoff Conforama sold its shares in early 2018 to the supermarket chain Carrefour.

However, the company intends to take advantage of the increased customer interest in the bedding segment with a new high-end store chain under the brand "Il etait une nuit" and is buying additionally more smaller bed houses. The chain But was for a long time for sale until it was taken over in mid-2016 by the third largest furniture retailer Lutz from Austria together with financial investors.

Contacts
Name Internet address Comments
AHK Frankreich http://frankreich.ahk.de Advises on entering the market in France
Federation française du negoce de l'ameublement et de l'equipement de la maison (FNAEM) http://www.fnaem.fr Association of the furniture trade
Union nationale des industries de l'ameublement français http://www.ameublement.com Association of the French furniture manufacturers


      

More information:
France Furniture market
Source:

Peter Buerstedde, Germany Trade & Invest www.gtai.de. Translation Textination.