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Spoga 2009: Garden fair blooms

Draws 25,000+ trade visitors from 89 countries

Spoga ended Tuesday after three days of bringing more than 25,000 trade visitors from 89 countries to Cologne, Germany, to learn about new products in the garden and leisure segments.
With 1,389 suppliers from 49 countries, Spoga underlined its leading position as a global marketplace for the garden sector.
 “Despite the current difficult economic situation, Spoga has once again presented the outdoor lifestyle sector at a high international level,” said Oliver P. Kuhrt, executive vice president of Koelnmesse, sponsor of the trade show. “We were able to further improve the visitor quality, which played a major role in creating the positive atmosphere at the fair.”
In addition to numerous world premieres and innovations presented at Spoga, there was a positive response from trade visitors to the target-group-oriented and interactive supporting program with special shows, workshops and events.
With 536 companies, the outdoor furniture sector was well-positioned with products ranging from fashionable garden loungers to high-tech sunshades. In the Excellence hall, 34 exhibitors presented furniture for the high-value and luxury sector.
 “We took orders beginning from the very first minute of the trade fair,” said Roland Stoiber of Münchener Boulevard Möbel GmbH. “Our activities abroad, in particular, went extremely well. Our new material Resysta attracted a great response — especially as a result of our workshop at the stand — and was for the first time properly understood. In this respect, it was a very successful event for our company.”
More than 400 companies exhibited products for the leisure sector, which included a record number of grilling and barbecue products.
Guido Kühne described Spoga 2009 as a resounding success for Landmann. “Our main goal was to restructure the Landmann brand in the barbecue segment; that proved to be a great success,” he said. “This is due to the fact that our top customers were present on all of the days, providing us with very positive feedback. We have thus definitely achieved our goal for the trade fair.”
At the Outdoor Chef International booth, Roland Stadelmann said, “We are very pleased — in terms of both the quantity and, above all, the quality of the trade visitors. We have the feeling that the trade fair has become more international. The visitors from English-speaking countries, Belgium and Holland were particularly good. We’ll be back.”
There was also plenty of action for the garden market, where 583 companies were represented in the ambience area of the fair. Those included producers of decoration supplies, plants and plant care products. There were also 146 exhibitors presenting basic garden products from the Far East.
Peter A. Baumann of Scheurich said Spoga went well for his company. “We’re highly satisfied. That’s because all of our important customers from Germany and many important customers from abroad – especially from the UK, France, Scandinavia and the USA — visited our stand. We’ll certainly be back next year for Spoga+Gafa and also again in two years to take part in Spoga.”


Trends at Spoga 2009
In the outdoor living sector “new comfort” was popular — with a modern interpretation. Manufacturers are responding to consumer demands for a sense of well-being by providing models that are comfortable without neglecting design. For example, there are chairs resembling a shell and sun loungers that are reminiscent of a wave.
Modular furniture that can fulfill individual wishes is also popular. Warm and muted colors like mocha or cappuccino are currently fashionable. Combined with bright and flashy accessories, for example in lilac, orange or green, outdoor furniture in 2010 will be a real eye-catcher in the backyard or on the balcony.
The issue of sustainability is increasingly the focus of attention because of greater environmental awareness among consumers. Manufacturers are also adapting to this theme by increasingly using natural materials or developing new high-tech materials, for example a plastic that can replace tropical wood. Quality is still what counts.
The trend toward high-quality products continues unabated. This is also true for the grilling and barbecue product segment, where sophisticated new developments in the areas of charcoal, gas and electric products defined the fair’s themes.
“The barbecue industry has not felt the effects of the economic crisis,” said Kurt Schlieper, chief executive of the Barbecue Industry Association Grillverband (BIAG). “In particular, the range of large gas grills — fitted out like proper outdoor kitchens — has grown. Consumers are now willing to invest more in a barbecue than in the past.”
In addition to large gas grills, there were also numerous barbecue hearths and outdoor fireplaces at the trade fair, providing the romance of a campfire and at the same time reflecting the trend toward coziness.
A visitor survey confirmed the impression that the big decision-makers came to Cologne. “The quality of the trade visitors was excellent; the most important decision-makers were in Cologne,” were comments frequently made at the exhibitors’ stands. The visitor survey showed 82% of those surveyed had sole or joint responsibility for making purchasing and procurement decisions at their company. Half of all visitors to Spoga are members of their respective management boards.
More than 70% of visitors rated the product range as either good or very good. Nearly 85% said they would recommend a visit to Spoga to a close business associate.
In 2010, Spoga+Gafa will be held Sept. 5-7. For more information, visit www.spogagafa.com.

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