Bring on the spring

Houseware Shows Review 2017

Every February is known as ‘silly season’ for many houseware companies across Europe. With Spring Fair taking place at the NEC in Birmingham from the 5th to the 9th February, and Ambiente taking place in Frankfurt from the 10th to 14th, most of our clients survive on coffee and chocolate to get through the shows. With preparation, build up, attendance and breakdown, I would imagine that many marketing people wish they could take the rest of the month off.

On behalf of RealEdge I attended both shows, spending a day at the NEC and two days over in Frankfurt. Even with no retailers to see, no pressures of building or manning a stand, I was exhausted by the time I got back home!

Spring Fair

Spring Fair is understood to be the UK’s leading gift and housewares show. Over the last few years, it has gained considerable momentum and grown to incorporate more and more sectors, ranging from DIY and home improvements through to jewellery, watches, children’s toys and even Christmas decorations.

There really is something for almost any and every retailer to examine, consider, and eventually purchase. As an agency, our focus is the housewares and DIY sectors; we always spend lots of time walking the show and seeing what our clients’ competitors are up to.

The show, as always, had many of the major players in the tableware and kitchenware UK market — Kitchencraft, Denby, Dexam, DKB, Meyer, Amefa and Portmeirion, to name but a few. However, to me the show seemed to be quieter than in previous years and the visitors seemed very thin on the ground in the DIY hall.


Ambiente is, without any doubt, the largest European show for table, kitchen, household, gift and jewellery, and even interior design and furnishing products, and certainly the largest show I have ever visited in my experience. In two full days walking the show, I still only managed to cover about a third of the halls.

The consistent theme was the use of high quality emotive imagery

The sheer size and scale of the entire show is mind boggling. Some stands, such as the Villeroy & Boch stand and the WMF stand, are as large as your typical supermarket. Even lunch and dinner are served to customers. If you want to see what the European retail buyers for kitchen and housewares are buying, or if you want to open a shop yourself, then this is the place to go.

RealEdge customers were well represented, with Fiskars and Kitchencraft again having fantastic stands and Keter being the leading exhibitor in Hall 5.

Show Trends

In both shows, the consistent theme across stand designs and packaging was the use of high quality emotive imagery. The images are based upon striking simple photography, with the product(s) being shot predominantly on either white or dark backgrounds. The use of top-down imagery with beautiful finished cuisine and colourful high quality ingredients as props was prolific.

A standout benefit of being present at Ambiente is the opportunity for analysing the latest trends and styles thanks to presentations (one of which can be found here) from leading designers throughout the show.

For anyone wanting to understand the kitchen and housewares industry, and the themes coming up during the upcoming season, the housewares shows are invaluable not only to meet clients but also to see what companies across the industry are doing.

Written by Tim Hubbard, operations director at RealEdge