Directly after a delicious lunch in the lovely garden of The Guild Hotel, Monday afternoon sessions began with a 30-minute group presentation by five IHA global sales offices and representatives.
Linus Kolmevik – Denmark, Norway, Sweden
Mark Chapman – United Kingdom, Ireland
Pascal Glorieux – France, Belgium
Tommaso Madotto – Italy
Monica Lee – Taiwan
Linus Kolmevik, Scandinavia representative, is based in Sweden. He reported on trends he sees in his region:
- Increased demand for natural materials—metal and wood—less demand for plastics
- Companies willing and capable of selling small orders (EU-based product availability)
- Online retailers opening brick & mortar stores. Suppliers whose products need to be seen and touched or require an explanation can benefit from the opening of these stores.
- Retailers ask for products under their own label, but they don’t want to buy large volume. Suppliers able to provide flexible manufacturing of private label products have an advantage.
- As consumer interest in craft cocktail rises, retailers are looking for products in barware category
He also provided the names and contact information for key buyers in several stores, such as Adlibris, KitchenTime and Cervera.
Mark Chapman, of IHA’s UK office, outlined trends in UK and Ireland:
Despite uncertainties regarding Brexit, positive developments in our market show that
- Online retail growing and key players are expanding housewares offerings. Amara Living Ltd is expanding its brand portfolio.
- Sustainable, plastic free products experiencing significant growth. Consumer awareness about the damage to oceans propelled interest in single-use alternatives. Sustainable home products are flourishing; it’s a strong market and growing.
- Garden centers are expanding housewares presence, the field is growing quickly and stores are beginning to innovate.
- After struggling for several years, housewares sales have rebounded.
- Marie Kondo effect has positively impacted growth in sales of storage and cleaning products, with retailers working hard to capitalize on this opportunity. Influencers in such product categories are partnering with retailers to push that sector of the market.
Pascal Glorieux, France and Belgium representative, based in Paris outlined several trends:
- New law effective January 2020 bans single use plastics. Retailers focused on biodegradable products composed of natural materials.
- Home organization and storage suppliers have an opportunity to reach new customers at the new home organization concept store, Shoji, with 7 stores growing to 11 in 2020. He provided two contact names.
- The coffee culture in France continues to grow as consumers look for more products within the coffee category. MaxiCoffee has been in operation for 6 years.
- Branded products have higher success reaching retailers through distribution in France. N2J is a distributor of kitchen tools and gadgets. Emile & Co. is a distributor of kitchenware, cutlery and cookware. He listed names and contacts for both.
- Two importers in Belgium were identified.
Tommaso Madotto, IHA’s Italy representative, reported on developing trends:
- Reusable and sustainable products across all categories are designed by retailers to meet the upcoming new laws banning single use plastic. Lufthansa airlines has announced that it is already reducing use of plastic
- Pet products are in high demand. Italy is #1 in Europe in pets per capita = 51 pets/100 people, followed by Germany 50/100. He listed top pet product retailers.
- Fashion forward portable drinkware and food storage category continues to grow, despite several successful companies in the market. He named top selling suppliers of cups and bottles.
- High performing grocery retailers, targeting high quality products named buyer contact
- La Rinascente offers good brand visibility throughout Italy. It is a high-end luxury department store, often comapred to Lafayette in France. La Rinascenter operates stores in Milan, Florence and Turin opened in January. Of the 20 million visitors, most are tourists, who spend more than locals.
Monica Lee, IHA’s representative in Taiwan, discussed the following developments:
- “Shop in Shop” department store concept allows unique opportunities for new products to enter the market through distributor partners. She listed three stores and buyer contacts.
- Basic products (such as a bottle opener) which have convenience store appeal, could have large volume opportunity for placement through distributors that target this channel. The 7-11 chain operates the most stores but limited product assortment.
- While most supermarkets are declining, PX Mart is enjoying significant growth in market share and store count. Opportunities for brands to participate in loyalty member program could result in volume sales. She mentioned two stores.
- Hypermarkets are willing to work both directly with brands and local importers in Taiwan. She provide examples of two strong players and mentioned sales figures and SKUs sold.
- With a steady increase in sales per recent years, online and TV shopping represents the largest opportunities for growth in the market. She mentioned three stores. She also described that TV shopping is migrating to web and social media (Facebook, Instagram,WeChat and youtube) as brick & mortar is combining with ecommerce.
If you are looking to enter Taiwan, it is most important to look for a good distributor in the channels who will help you enter the market and have long term success.
For a complete list of IHA offices around the world, click here.