Spotlight on Spring Fair 2017

Hot on the heels of Top Drawer, the next trade show for our calendar is Spring Fair 2017. Running from the 5th – 9th February at Birmingham’s NEC.

Known as the UK’s premier gift and home trade event the show returns with an exciting programme; thousands of exhibitors, the latest trends, unique insights and new show sectors. Making it well worth a visit for everyone in the industry.

I’ve been attending Spring Fair for longer than I can remember; first as an exhibitor and for the last few years as a speaker for the events timetable. For Spring Fair 2017 I will be once again stationed in the eCommerce theatre, talking about how blogging can help card & gift businesses grow. I will also be taking part in the ‘Meet the Experts’ panels; this time for a huge 3 hour session, talking 1-2-1 with business owners about blogging for business.

With 14 sectors on offer to cover the entire UK gift and home market, Spring Fair 2017 promises to have something for everyone. In fact there’s so much to see I thought it would be a good idea to shine a spotlight on a few of the show highlights that can’t be missed.

So if you’re heading to Spring Fair next month this is for you.


Gifts Galore

As gifting becomes an important concept all year-round, retailers are exploring opportunities outside of the big four – Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. With this in mind the  Gift section in halls 4 and 5 is a a one-stop-shop showing gifts for everything from birthdays to housewarmings.

Independent retailers and buyers will find a diverse range of products in the Gift sector, including food and confectionery, heritage and souvenirs, licensed and personalised gifts. For Spring Fair 2017 home fragrance will be a major focus, as the largest single segment in the gifting market. Look out for new products and best sellers from Yankee Candle, Wax Lyrical, Price’s Candles and Stone Glow Candles who will all be displaying their wares in this category.

Garden gifting will also be under the spotlight; a result of garden centres expanding their remit to include gift lines, which has in turn seen growth of a new sub-sector of the gift market. Spring Fair 2017 will also welcome a new Garden Giftware Café housed within the Gift sector, proving what a major part of the event it has become.


Good Greetings

The greeting cards sector has experienced significant change in recent years as people increasingly enjoy receiving personalised cards. According to the latest Greeting Card Association Market Report, the public spent more on cards than ever before in 2015 – taking the market value up to a value of £1.7 billion.

New to the Greetings and Gift sector in hall 3 will be The Debut Area, supported by the Greeting Card Association (GCA). Comprising 24 of its small member publishers who will be making their debut at Spring Fair; this area will give visitors the chance to learn about never-seen-before card companies.

Caroline Gardner will be one stand-out supplier of theGreetings and Gift sector; having expanded beyond greetings cards, we can expect her product range to include stationery, fragrance, scarves and bags. Five Dollar Shake will also be present, exhibiting its much loved range of crystal-adorned handmade greeting cards. The greetings hall will also play host to new ranges from The Art File, which originally launched at Spring Fair in 1997. Complimenting the new cards on offer leading printing supplier, Papergraphics will be one of the exhibitors showcasing their range of bespoke wrapping paper.


Gifts with a Contemporary Twist

As one of the most popular areas of Spring Fair, Contemporary Gift can be found in halls 6 and 7. This Spring Fair 2017 sector will offer original and exclusive gift and home designs from more than 350 British and international suppliers.

According to WGSN, the global trend authority, some of the hottest themes of 2017 will include yellow-green shades that evoke the first days of spring, fresh plants and organic materials. Retailers that visit Spring Fair 2017 will see the influence of this trend throughout the sector. Green 80’s marble, indoor gardens, concrete and products reminiscent of those you would find in a boutique hotel are all expected to be in strong demand.

Scandinavian-influenced design is another trend that is making its mark on the retail industry. As such, the sector will showcase the largest number of international businesses in the UK. Exhibitors, such as Lene Bjerre and On Interior will both be present.

Keep your eyes peeled for big-name exhibitors joining the Contemporary Gift sector; Jolipa, Madam Stolz, and Nordal.


The Summerhouse

Exclusive to the Spring Fair is the Summerhouse, an edited collection of exclusive exhibitors. This offers visitors the latest in on-trend designs, with a highly-edited selection of gift, interior and lifestyle brands.

Historically leaning toward a British feel, this year’s Summerhouse will embrace the UK’s love for all things international; evidence of Spring Fair 2017’s diversification. Scandinavia will play a starring role with Ib Laursen and Shepherd of Sweden both in attendance.

Other big-name companies in the Summerhouse include: Nkuku, India Jane, Jellycat, Natures Collection, One World Trading Ltd, VITA Copenhagen, Stone the Crows, Libra and Parlane International.


Children’s Gifts, Toys & Gadgets

The children’s gifting market has achieved significant growth in recent years, largely due to the popularity of licensed products. The growth areas in this sector are children’s gifts and baby or nursery-focused companies. As gift retailers continue to diversify the ranges they carry, there is a growing trend of baby and nursery products being sold in general gift stores.

Licensed products are also growing in popularity. Based on movie releases in 2017, it is expected that Trolls, Cars 3, Despicable Me and Star Wars will be well represented at Spring Fair 2017.

In hall 5, ranges on show will span from traditional wooden toys, to family board games, arts and crafts, outdoor and educational games. With growing demand for tech toys (think drones and robots) Spring Fair 2017 expects to see  more companies focused on this sub-sector of the market. Similarly an increasing number of companies will be catering to the more recently emerged sector of nursery and baby; a reflection of the UK adoption of baby showers as a gifting occasion.

Look out for: Hansa Creation, Keel Toys and Netherlands-based company Bertoy who will be exhibiting in the Children’s section of the show.


A First Look at Christmas 2017: Gifts, Floral and Seasonal Decorations

Christmas may have just finished, but planning for the 2017 festive period begins in hall 2 at Spring Fair. The event aims to help retailers identify forthcoming trends and begin to source products.

Kaemingk, Premier Decorations, Festive Productions, Panacea, Florelle, Tree locate and CB Imports will all be in attendance. Festive buyers should also look out for Hendricks Deco bV, exhibiting at Spring Fair 2017 for the first time.


The Volume Halls & DIY

Opening a day early on Saturday 4th February, the Volume Gift & Home area will provide visitors with the UK’s largest gathering of volume and clearance suppliers. Spanning halls 10, 11 and 12, retailers will find consumer electronics, outdoor products, toys, gifts, toiletries and more.

PMS International Group and What More UK are expected to be the major highlights of the Volume sector. Show organisers also recommend stopping by the stands of Ultimate Products and EPE International, who between them represent a number of popular brands.

Also opening a day before the main show is a new DIY sector, showcasing a curated selection of the top DIY and home improvement exhibitors.


Industry awards

Alongside the Exhibitors Spring Fair 2017 will also play host to industry awards, The Gift of the Year Awards. Taking place on Sunday 5th February, the awards will recognise original and innovative new gift products.

Retailers will also be invited to attend the highly-anticipated Housewares Innovation Awards on Monday 6th February. Sponsored by Spring Fair, these awards are hosted by Housewares Magazine at The National Motorcycle Museum; recognising those retailers developing the most innovative businesses. The finalists will be chosen by an expert panel of judges and the winners will be revealed on the night.


Exciting Events

As I mentioned at the top of the post as well as exhibitors Spring Fair 2017 has a number of events; expert speakers, panels and workshops. These focus on a number of subjects revolving around eCommerce, online marketing and the retail industry. I’ll be taking a closer look at this part of the show in my next blog post; there’s so much on offer it deserves its own article.


Visiting Spring Fair 2017

As you can see there’s going to be lots to see and do at Spring Fair 2017; hopefully this look at some of the show’s highlights has given you an idea of what to expect.

Spring Fair runs from 5th – 9th February 2017 at Birmingham’s NEC. Volume and DIY sectors opening a day earlier on Saturday 4th February.

For more information and to register for your free ticket, visit the Spring Fair website.


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