With a gain in confidence in the economy and a clear general election result, United Kingdom (UK) retailers are finally enjoying some pre-crisis level of spending. The housing market is more buoyant. Houses are sold, bought, extended and improved, and buildings are being erected all over the country. Plus, the government plans to accelerate residential home building with a goal of developing a million new homes by 2020. All great news for the UK floor covering market.
In the last decade, reports of a hefty decline of the UK carpet industry were frequent but definitely blown out of proportion. It is true that sales dropped heavily from £1.2 billion in 2008 to £968 million in 2011 when not only the recession hit but wood and laminate flooring became more popular. Thankfully, the demand for carpets is now increasing again with carpet sales still higher than other types of flooring.
The UK is home to some very lucrative flooring companies, such as Victoria, the company that rolled out the carpet for the Royal Wedding of William and Kate at Westminster Abbey. Many UK floor covering companies are seeing higher profit forecasts. Nevertheless, UK floor covering manufacturers and retailers have been very proactive and have worked hard on their growth strategy to make sure they all profit from this “spending comeback.”
One of the most important tactics in any UK floor covering company’s marketing strategy is to establish a presence at the Flooring Show. This yearly event takes place in Harrogate, a beautiful spa town in North Yorkshire. Since its launch in 1962 as the Northern Floor Coverings Fair, the Harrogate event has proven to be extremely durable—outlasting a number of rival events. Thirty-seven exhibitors appeared at the 1962 event.
The 2015 edition, which took place last September, welcomed 170 exhibitors and approximately 3,000 visitors. Harrogate in September is where the whole UK flooring industry, including the retail and contract/commercial sectors (as well as overseas guests and participants), come together for three intensive days of business activity and networking.
It attracts many of the major players in the sector that want to present their products and services to the widest possible audience. The Harrogate Flooring Show covers all kinds of carpets and floor coverings, such as wood flooring, laminates, parquet flooring and cork floors.
The next main event for the UK flooring sector is Domotex in Hannover, Germany. For Domotex 2016, set for Jan. 16-19, approximately 2,000 square meters of exhibiting space will be represented by UK floor covering companies.
With 1,316 exhibitors, Domotex is the world’s leading trade fair for carpets and floor coverings. The attraction of this event is its “internationality” as 85 percent of exhibitors come from outside Germany, and 66 percent of its 38,000 visitors are from abroad. Noted floor covering buyer Jeremy Garish from Carpetright, the UK’s largest retailer of floor covering, stated, “It is perfectly true that you meet the world in Domotex. The event is a great environment, and a one-stop show that makes it simple to network and to filter markets and trends.”