After a small decline in visitors last year, Brussels Furniture Fair has announced a modest increase of 0.82% this year. This increase is entirely down to foreign visitors, although the downward trend of Belgian visitors has now stabilised. It is chiefly the Netherlands (+4%) and Germany/Austria/Switzerland (+2.7%) that have accounted for the increase in visitors.
German visitors' substantial purchasing power and high market concentration proved to be important to the show's exhibitors. France (-3.8%) and the United Kingdom and Ireland (-1.2%) saw a slight decrease. However, this did not chime with the perception of exhibitors, who believed that they had seen more customers from these countries.
All the purchasing groups from France were in attendance, as well as a considerable number of individual shops, representing a good geographical spread. Furthermore, Armistice Day fell during the trade fair period this year, and it was no coincidence that this was a bank holiday in those countries from which there was a decline in visitor numbers.
Finally, visitor numbers from other countries increased by 9.19%, while non-Belgian visitors increased by a total of 2.68%. This is crucial for the fair, as for many participants, it is this strong foreign visitor presence that justifies the investment that participation in a trade fair demands. The fact that they can exploit a number of different markets for a reasonable price in Brussels is one of the fair's greatest strengths.
In absolute figures, the differences in visitor numbers are not very large, both in terms of increases and decreases. At 19,296, the total number of visitors comes close to the target level of 20,000. Ultimately, the key thing for exhibitors is whether or not they have done good business. Reactions overwhelmingly suggest that the result was positive. The majority of exhibitors were either satisfied or very satisfied, not only with visitor numbers, but also with the quality and profile of visitors.
The total surface area of 70,000m² was split over 7 halls, just like in 2014. Larger stands meant that there was only space for 275 exhibitors, 8 fewer than in 2014. These larger stands demonstrated exhibitors’ confidence in the importance of the fair. This is apparent still more so from the high quality and attractive appearance of the stands. Loyal exhibitors had invitingly upgraded their stands, whilst new participants were also keen to get off to a strong start and prove their worth.