Hannover, in Germany, plays host to the World’s largest flooring exhibition every January. An international arena for manufacturers to exhibit their wares to trade buyers.
Spanning an immense 180,000m² (that's roughly 26 Premiership sized football pitches) across 11 halls, 1,400 exhibitors from 60 nations and 35,000 attendees, just about every type of internal floor covering can be found at this exhibition. Hand made carpets, rugs, tufted, woven, wood and laminate flooring, luxury vinyl tiles, cushion vinyl... you name it, it will be on show in the vast Domotex exhibition.
We deployed our International Head Honcho Flooring Guru and his wife (to keep him on track) to seek out nuggets of flooring gold. During their two days in the Domotex halls, they averaged 4 miles of walking a day in between buying, taking notes, a lot of measured thinking and a considerable amount of talking shop. They donned their most comfy of shoes and eagerly took to the gangways.
Each visitor to Domotex attends for various reasons. Ours, this year, was to continue expanding our portfolio of niche products. The type of flooring you would never see in multi-chain retailers and highly unlikely to see in independent retailers.
Multi-chain retailers play it safe. They opt mainly for the volume, pile it high sell it cheap market. Independent retailers, on the other hand, do tend to have a better quality product offering but not having huge buying clout, they generally have to buy from importers (wholesalers) and although some importers offer the odd niche product here and there, you will typically find “me too” products from one retailer to the next.
But what if, as a consumer, you’ve previously done all that? What if you’re either in empty nest syndrome and can now consider a higher quality flooring knowing there’s no one about to trash it or you just value a slightly more expensive product that looks fabulously different from everyone else's, performing and looking at it's best for longer? As a consumer, where can you get to see all these beautiful and unusual flooring products that actually don’t cost you a disproportionate amount?
Yep, exactly... it’s very, very hard to find them.
Here are some of what we considered to be highlights of Domotex 2020. We’re aiming to bring some or all of these to market over the coming months so keep an eye on this space as we announce new product launches.