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issue: April 2004 APPLIANCE Magazine

HomeTech Cologne 2004 Exhibition
A Trade Show of Transition


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by Lisa Bonnema, Editor

On Location:
APPLIANCE magazine traveled to Cologne, Germany to report on HomeTech Cologne 2004.

Although some major players were missing at what used to be the appliance industry’s largest biannual event, those who exhibited at HomeTech Cologne 2004 showcased their latest and greatest products from around the world.

HomeTech Cologne 2004 Overview

It is safe to say that HomeTech Cologne 2004, held Feb. 25-27 in Cologne, Germany, was anxiously anticipated by the appliance industry as a whole—visitors, exhibiting companies, and perhaps the most notable, non-exhibiting companies. Developed by German organizers Koelnmesse GmbH and Messe Berlin GmbH, the new trade show is a combination of the industry’s former event, Domotechnica, held in Cologne, Germany, and HomeTech, which debuted in 2002 in Berlin, Germany.

Most of the anticipation was built around show attendance, which registered around 25,000 visitors, according to a Final Report released by the show organizers. While the report also indicated that more than 1,300 exhibitors from 53 countries exhibited at HomeTech 2004, it was hard to ignore some of the missing stands: Whirlpool, BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte, Miele, and AB Electrolux were just a few of the major players that decided not to participate at HomeTech. Even smaller appliance companies like Arçelik and Gorenje, which had a strong presence at HomeTech 2002, did not exhibit.

“This lack of participation is a sign of a certain stress, a strain, clearly on companies that have a major market share in Germany,” Luigi Meli, director general of CECED, tells APPLIANCE. According to Mr. Meli, difficult economic conditions in European countries—especially Germany—and increased costs from upcoming regulations (i.e, new European appliance recycling laws that will go into effect in August 2005) are key reasons he feels companies did not exhibit. “Preparing for [such regulations] and absorbing relevant costs in a very negative economic cycle is a very difficult exercise,” he notes.

Still, Mr. Meli says CECED remains a supporter of HomeTech, despite the fact that many of its larger members did not participate in this year’s show and have yet to announce plans to exhibit at HomeTech 2006, which is scheduled to take place in Berlin, Germany. “Clearly our commitment to the fair remains unchanged and is independent of the level of response from CECED members,” Mr. Meli tells APPLIANCE. “We still think there is a need and an opportunity for the industry to have this trade show. We hope for a much better result in terms of participation in the future.”

Mr. Meli says that CECED will continue to do its part to “present the opportunities” of HomeTech to its members, but that it will not “impose on a member company’s business freedom” and will continue to respect whatever decisions its members make. “However, I see that the presence of the trade has been very good [at HomeTech 2004], and that might bring them to reevaluate the situation,” Mr. Meli notes.

But if the larger companies don’t reevaluate, the big question is will there even be a HomeTech in 2006? “I feel that the show will go on,” Mr. Meli says. “We know from retailers that they are interested in continuing this industry approach. Otherwise, it would be hard to see why CECED as an industry is supporting it.”

Echoing the sentiment of several companies APPLIANCE spoke to at the fair, Mr. Meli suggests that this is the beginning of a shift—not a demise—in appliance industry tradeshows. “This may be the start of an evolution of trade fairs from an old concept into something new, something different,” notes Mr. Meli. “We went through a gigantism on the stands. Maybe it will now move to a smaller, more qualified presence.”

 

HomeTech Cologne 2004 Technology Highlights

The good news is that the decreased participation didn’t stop some industry players from continuing the tradition of showcasing their latest appliance innovations. Following are a few of the show’s technology highlights.

 

Designer Appliances - Refrigerators & Freezers
Vestfrost
Denmark

 

“Roomy” Microwave
Haier Europe Trading Srl
Varese, Italy

Designer Appliances - Personal Care
Princess Household Appliances BV
The Netherlands
  Nitrogen-Enriched Refrigerators
Sampo
Taiwan
Designer Appliances - Kitchen Electric Housewares
Swissmar International Corp.
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
  Material Innovation
Fisher & Paykel
New Zealand
Recirculating Cooking Hood
Berbel Ablufftechnik
Hopston, Germany
  Water Dispensers with Softening and Purifying
GD Midea Holding Co. Ltd.

Shunde, GuangDong P.R.C.
Hovering Vacuum
Air Rider Systems Ltd.
Glasgow, Scotland
  High-Tech Water Dispensers
Latina Appliances S/A
São Carlos, Brazil
Maintenance-Free Humidifier
Hunter Fan Company
Jacksonville, FL, U.S.
  Automatic Espresso Maker
De’Longhi SpA
Treviso, Italy
Patent-Packed Deep Fryer
Fritel
Belgium
   

 

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