16.05.17 – Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics – Spring Edition 2017

Premium brands report positive signs in the Chinese market

Industry’s biggest companies choose Intertextile for sourcing

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Any uncertainty about the state of the global apparel fabrics and accessories industry in the coming year was widely dispelled at last Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics – Spring Edition, with many exhibitors reporting strong increases in the number of contacts and enquiries they received compared to last year.

While the visitor number was up slightly on last year – 71,450 from 103 countries and regions attended (2016: 71,163 from 100 countries and regions) – what was clearly evident in the feedback from exhibitors was that the quality of buyers sourcing at the fair continues to increase. Many exhibitors also commented that they received a healthy spread of buyers to their booths, both from China as well as from key markets in Asia and Europe, and that a satisfying proportion of these buyers were new potential customers.

Reflecting the fact that Intertextile Shanghai’s reputation as the industry’s leading event to conduct business each March & October has been steadily increasing over recent years, the exhibitor number grew by 5.9% this edition to 3,341 from 26 countries and regions (2016: 3,155 from 27 countries and regions). New exhibitor countries included Denmark, Malaysia and Poland. The top 10 visitor countries and regions, excluding Mainland China, were Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, the US, Taiwan, India, Russia, Turkey, Indonesia and the UK.

Where the global industry comes to do business

As a barometer for the global market, the positive signs from exhibitors at this March’s Intertextile Shanghai bode well for the industry this year. Once again, it was not just the quantity of buyers pleasing exhibitors, but the quality also.

“The level of the visitors seems much more professional and actually much more competent about textiles and fashion trends,” Mr Marco Borio, General Manager of Miroglio (Jiaxing) Trading, a 20-year veteran of the fair commented. “Definitely it is a leading platform for the industry in Asia, because for us as an Italian company, it is very important to be at the show to introduce our collection to such a wide selection of customers.”

The organisers of a dedicated Hong Kong area, H.K. & Kln. Textile Fabrics Wholesalers Assn., shared a similar sentiment. “We are very pleased with the overall result this year. Not only was there a strong visitor flow, but there were also many more genuine and quality enquiries,” Mr Alan Lee, Hon. Secretary said. “We expect we will receive up to 400 enquiries by the end of the fair which is an ideal result for us. Besides a large number of Chinese buyers, we also met buyers from Europe, the Americas and Southeast Asia.”

There is no other show …

Korean company Gyeonggi Textile Center was most pleased that the fair could attract their target buyers, including “a number of renowned clothing brands,” Mr Jung Wan Ryu, Company Representative explained. He continued: “Intertextile Shanghai is the largest fair of its kind and most influential platform in the region; there is no other show that is more effective. Every year it is able to draw the right target clients for us. We are pleased to say that the results this edition were better than the previous spring fair.”

Japanese company Moririn was equally satisfied with their participation, particularly as they could meet existing as well as potential customers. “Many buyers, both existing and new clients came to our booth. Combining the first two days, we recorded more than 130 prospective buyers from around the world. In the past, our company has met many new clients from the fair, and this year will be no exception,” Ms Li Jiang, Representative from the Fabric Materials Department of Shanghai Moririn Textile said.

Taiwan’s Paltex also noted results from the fair were better this year, while also receiving a substantial amount of new contacts. “We’ve received so many genuine enquiries from our target buyers, and we think many of them will turn into further cooperation. Around 90% of these are new buyers from China,” Mr Steven Wu explained.

After more than 10 years of operating in the Mainland China market, Paltex are in a strong position to notice changes in buyer preferences. “Although economic growth in China has slowed down, designers are still very eager to buy from us,” Wu continued. “We see the Chinese brands getting much more international now, and we’ve noticed this week some domestic brands have even hired Italian designers to source together with at the fair. As in previous years there are still many domestic visitors at Intertextile, but they’re now more interested in buying mid to high-end products.”

Premium brands report positive signs in the Chinese market

This sentiment shared by Paltex regarding the continued demand in China for high-end overseas brands was echoed by a number of other exhibitors, including a first-time participant from Peru, Creditex. “In the first two days of the fair we collected nearly 60 contacts. However, we are more interested in the quality of the buyers than the quantity, and I’m confident that we will be able to build business relationships with the quality contacts that we’ve made here. People who came to our booth were looking specifically for our Pima cotton-woven fabrics, and I think in the foreseeable future there will always be demand in China for quality fabrics such as these,” Mr Renzo Koch Mazure, Commercial Manager said.

Swiss company weba Weberei Appenzell has been working with high-end European brands for over a decade, and after extensive market research decided to introduce their line of shirting fabrics to the Chinese market. “During the three days we have obtained very good contacts. Of all the buyers we met, we found 20 quality clients from high-end Chinese brands, and I think this is a good start for our company in this region,” explained Mr Alexander Barberi from the Marketing Department. Fellow European exhibitor Lanerie Agnona from Italy, taking part in the Milano Unica Pavilion, has experience operating in the premium segment in China. Mr Marcello Baldi, Marketing Manager expressed: “Some of our customers in China are really trying to expand their markets by putting high-end products into their collections. For example, we work with Youngor to help them target the high-end market which is increasing in China. Buyers here like to have good quality fabric with a well-known label nowadays.”

Another fast-moving trend in the domestic market, which is mirrored in the buyer profile of the fair, is that of boutique online brands, and despite their small size, many were on the lookout for premium fabrics at the fair. Mr Bulong Xu from Japan’s Uni Textile explained: “In this edition, the new buyers we met were mainly young designer brands and fashion garment brands that are revamping their image, as well as e-commerce fashion brands. This included ladieswear brands selling on Taobao that will use our products to attract new customers.”

Denim continues its rise in China

The fair’s Beyond Denim area also grew in size this edition, further cementing its place as the leading sourcing event for denim fabrics in China. A long-term exhibitor of the fair and participant in Beyond Denim, Orta Anadolu from Turkey also reported what many other exhibitors did: an increase in contacts this year. “We met more domestic Chinese brands as well as potential customers from other countries at this edition,” Ms Ay?e Eda Dikmen, Marketing Specialist said. “Local brands are getting used to doing business with import fabric mills now, so this makes it easier for us to grow in China. Demand for denim in China is increasing remarkably, and I believe that this trend will continue for many more years.”

Lenzing and Hohenstein make a splash at the fair

Celebrating their 10-year anniversary in China at the fair with a special event, Hohenstein reported another successful edition of Intertextile Shanghai. “We are very happy with this year’s exhibition results, and the 10-year anniversary event helped promote our company onsite,” Mr Charles Nie, Head of Sales, Hohenstein Institute China said. “The visitor flow also improved this edition. Buyers to the fair are very focused and in my opinion, over the years, the show has earned a name for being one of the most professional textile platforms in the world with a high level of influence on the industry.”

Lenzing is another renowned European company with a long presence in China, as well as at Intertextile. This edition they organised their own pavilion for the first time at the spring fair, and as Ms Echo Mok, Head of Marketing Communication, Asia, Lenzing Fibres (Hong Kong) explained, they did so due to the strong requests from their partner clients. “The exhibitors in the Lenzing Pavilion have always participated in this fair, but they believe exhibiting together in one pavilion is more effective as it’s easier to attract their target customers. For us, Intertextile is an important fair to participate in; it’s a key marketplace to find new clients.”

Industry’s biggest companies choose Intertextile for sourcing

Amongst the more than 71,000 trade buyers sourcing at this year’s fair were a number of well-known global brands taking advantage of the show’s unrivalled product range. This included Under Armour, represented by Mr John Hardy, Director, Sportswear for UA Global Sourcing. “This is my first time to Intertextile Shanghai, and I’m here to source functional fabrics for a sportswear line we are currently developing. The fair is very beneficial and it is great to see all the fashion fabrics offered from different countries. I’m very happy with the selection here. Coming to the fair is easy and hassle free, and I will be back in future editions.” A veteran of around 15 years sourcing at the fair, Ms Katie R Drummond, the Menswear Technical Lead for Marks & Spencer, commented: “The product variety and exhibitor quality are really good. We like the way the fair is laid out where you categorise the products into different zones and pavilions. I’ve seen a significant improvement in the quality of the suppliers here too.”

Fringe programme enhances the fair experience for exhibitors and buyers

Apart from being the industry’s largest sourcing platform for the spring / summer season, the fair’s fringe programme of trend forums, seminars, panel discussions and more is highly valued by both the content providers and the buyers eager to soak it up. The NellyRodi Agency from France once again conducted a highly popular seminar on the spring / summer 2018 trends, led by Mr Michael Bonzom, Manager Studio, who explained: “Intertextile Shanghai is a very important platform for me to show our clients our new designs, products and more importantly to open their minds to new concepts. Seminars are always a valuable tool to get in direct contact with the Chinese market, and are an essential way for the attendees to get inspired. The energy at the seminar was great, and overall it was a great success.”