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More exhibitors and visitors at Paperworld: future-oriented impulses for the 2018 business year

23 Feb 2018

Both manufacturers and retailers made a successful start to the new business season at the Paperworld, Creativeworld, Christmasworld and Floradecora trade fairs in Frankfurt am Main. 3,023 exhibitors from 69 countries [1] made presentations to the national and international trade. 1,640 exhibitors from 66 countries [2] took part in Paperworld.

Altogether, around 87,000 visitors from 162 countries [3] made their way to Frankfurt to discover the latest trends and top themes, and to boost their businesses in the fields of festive and seasonal decorations, fresh flowers and plants, paper, office supplies and stationery, and hobby, art and craft supplies.

Paperworld 2018
Paperworld 2018 was characterised by numerous new contacts, innovations and impulses for the coming business year. Photo: Messe Frankfurt / Liebchen

“Stimulated by the good economic climate, five intensive days at the consumer-goods fairs ended with full order books, new business impulses and a great atmosphere”, said Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt. “The further increase in exhibitor and visitor numbers confirmed that the relevant segments of the world’s consumer-goods markets are at home at Christmasworld, Paperworld and Creativeworld in Frankfurt am Main. Our consumer-goods fairs are distinguished by a very high level of internationality that rose from 62 to 65 percent on the visitor side and to 82 percent on the exhibitor side.”

Paperworld 2018: exhibitors’ innovations attract numerous new customers from all over the world

With its extensive range of products and the inspiring complementary programme of events, Paperworld is the world’s biggest trade fair for the paper, office supplies and stationery sector. It focuses on future-oriented subjects, reveals new development opportunities and thus makes visitors and exhibitors fit for the coming business year.

“This positive setting is also reflected by the increased number of companies exhibiting at Paperworld. Altogether, 1,640 exhibitors from 66 countries [4] made presentations during the four-day fair. With growth of eight percent, we have reversed the trend – and that in a challenging market”, said Julia Uherek, Group Show Director Consumer Goods, Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH. In comparison to 2017, there were more exhibitors from India, South Korea, Turkey, China, the United Kingdom and Russia.

According to the exhibitor poll, around two thirds of exhibitors were very pleased with the number of new contacts made and the standard of trade visitors. In addition to these criteria, many exhibitors gave a higher rating in terms of orders placed and target groups reached than a year ago. All in all, more than three quarters of exhibitors said they were very pleased with their results at Paperworld. For example, Sebastian Gutberlet, Sales & Marketing, Kaweco, said, “This has been a very good fair for us, even better than last year. On the first day, we had an incredible number of visitors. And this continued throughout the event with an extremely large number of appointments. We were particularly pleased with the customer standard and made numerous new contacts.”

High level of internationality and very high visitor standard

This year’s Paperworld also did better than the previous year in terms of visitor numbers. 33,787 trade visitors, 11,072 from Germany and 22,715 from abroad [5] gained inspiration from the latest trends and products. According to the visitor poll, 95 percent of trade visitors were satisfied or very satisfied with the range of products to be seen at Paperworld. This positive echo shows that the fair in Frankfurt is both an international market place for innovations and an indispensable business platform for the exchange of ideas and information on a personal plane. “Paperworld offers a huge assortment of product lines and a high level of internationality. The trade benefits from this, as it does from the concurrent product ranges to be seen at the Creativeworld and Christmasworld trade fairs. And then there are the events and special shows, in particular, the Future Office, which opens our eyes to the health at work and thus inspires the whole sector”, says Thomas Grothkopp of the German Home and Office Trade Association (Handelsverband Wohnen und Büro e.V. – HWB).

Striking at this year’s Paperworld: there were more trade visitors from outside Germany, especially from South Korea, Portugal, Bulgaria, China and Morocco, who came to Frankfurt to find innovations for the modern office and trends for private-oriented stationery and school requisites. All channels of distribution, from the classic retail trade, via the wholesale and import / export trade, to the mail-order and online trades, were represented. Many exhibitors remarked on the high visitor standard with numerous purchasing decision makers – three quarters of them are executives or come from top management. “Paperworld is the European trade fair we use to find new target groups and make new contacts, and to present our latest products to our best customers”, said Beth Wright, Chief Commercial Officer, Bi-Silque. After Germany, the majority of trade visitors came from Italy, the United Kingdom, France, the USA, China, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Turkey and Greece.

Paperworld has been bringing together the two main segments of office and stationery successfully at the same time and place for many years. Moreover, the areas of visitor interest indicate that the demand for the two product segments is equally high. Particularly popular are office paper and shipping materials (39 percent), office and desk accessories (30 percent), writing and drawing utensils (29 percent) and organisational aids, calendars and note books (26 percent). Furthermore, buyers also took more time to study the products on show: the average length of time spent at the fair has risen to two or even three days.

Complementary programme of events with future-oriented subjects for all visitors

Furthermore, the trade fair was distinguished by future-oriented subjects covered by the professional-development and complementary programmes. Thus, the Future Office special show in Hall 3.0 put the spotlight on an important social issue and showed what a healthy workplace can look like. Visitors took a set route through the healthy office, which provided positive impulses regarding acoustics, lighting, air, hygiene, ergonomics, furnishings and office supplies. Rounding off this theme were different expert lectures every day and guided tours for architects, facility managers and the retail trade. The manufacturers also praised the new exhibition areas in the special show itself. “We are back at Paperworld after a three-year break because we found the concept of the ‘Future Office’ to be extremely persuasive. And it has been a great success for us! We have not only met existing customers but also new target groups, such as architects and planners, who are becoming more important for our business. The special show here in Frankfurt leaves no doubt that a healthy working environment is growing in relevance. Paperworld has taken up and interpreted the subject extremely well”, said Andrea Cantong, Marketing Manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland at Fellowes.

The focus for the home office this year is on botany with plants, leaves, cacti and beetles trending. Expression is given to these motifs in the form of high-grade designs and materials whereby the emphasis is on dark blue and green with gold accents. At Paperworld, this trend was to be seen decorating notebooks, files and accessories. “We presented a complete range of products with jungle motifs at Paperworld. And this was not just an eye-catcher on our stand. On the contrary, these products were very much in demand by our customers. I can say that they are going to be a hit in the stationery segment. In the spring, we combine the leaf motifs with light shades of pink and, in the autumn, we shift to darker blues”, says Charlie Bassil, Sales Director, Portico

The Trend Show in the Foyer of Halls 5.1 and 6.1 also put the spotlight on lifestyle trends in the paper, writing and school-article segment. It presented the trends for the 2018/19 season and gave the trade ideas for assortment compilation and shop design. A highlight in Hall 5.1 was the Mr. Books & Mrs. Paper exhibition, which showed in an impressive and immediately comprehensible way how book retailers and other retailers can skilfully combine different product segments to increase sales and improve customer retention. Even more impulses for the retail trade was generated by Wrap up!, the show for trendy wrapping with Ulla Büning. In her demonstrations, the wrapping expert presented tricks and tips for effective gift wrapping and the latest manufacturers’ trends.

Insider: 10 years of top service for the specialist retail trade

The tenth anniversary of the Paperworld Insider programme is a sure sign that the specialist retail trade feels at home at the fair. More than 2,000 visitors came to Frankfurt to gather important ideas for their assortments at Paperworld and Creativeworld via the Insider customer programme, which is aimed at retailers in the German-speaking countries with up to ten employees. “The Insider programme is very important for us – from the preparatory phase using the website to the support provided in Frankfurt. The organisation is very good and there is a super-comfortable feeling at the fair”, said Ilka Gafert, proprietor of Fadengrafikshop in Reichelsheim.

No less well received was the initiative by the InterES, Büroring and Prisma purchasing and marketing cooperatives, which welcomed their members to a Retailers’ Meeting in Hall 3.0. “For us, Paperworld is a valuable opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions with all market participants, which we would otherwise not have”, said InterES CEO Wolfgang Möbus.

Focus on procurement: commercial buyers at Paperworld

The Monday of the fair was reserved for commercial buyers of office supplies with the exclusive Procurement business programme for buyers from companies, public authorities and organisations with at least 100 office workplaces, who purchase office materials and paper for inhouse usage. Around 250 visitors attended the Procurement Day in ‘Saal Europa’ of Hall 4.0 for an event organised in cooperation with the German Association for Materials Management, Purchasing and Logistics (Bundesverband Materialwirtschaft, Einkauf und Logistik e.V. – BME). The business programme was also supported by ‘C.ebra’ magazine and the Office Gold Club (OGC). “The Procurement programme was very well organised in terms of both planning and content. We benefited from a complete carefree package and will certainly be back again in 2019”, said Florian Schäfer, Lead Buyer at Döhler GmbH, in Darmstadt.

In addition to procurement professionals from big companies, Messe Frankfurt and Working@Office magazine also organised an exclusive programme for assistants and, therefore, important office-material buyers – the Assistants’ Day on the Tuesday of the fair was fully booked up with around 150 participants and, besides target-group specific lectures, generated new impulses for selecting office products at Paperworld.

Next year, the consumer-goods fairs will be held as usual around the last
Saturday in January:

  • Christmasworld and Floradecora: 25 to 29 January 2019
  • Paperworld and Creativeworld: 26 to 29 January 2019

You will find more statements by exhibitors and associations about the
course of business at Paperworld here:

Note for journalists:
You will find further information and photographs on the internet at

[1] 2017: 2,920 exhibitors from 63 countries; Basis: figures for 2017 FKM certified (Society for the Voluntary Control of Fair and Exhibition Statistics (Gesellschaft zur freiwilligen Kontrolle von Messe- und Ausstellungszahlen – FKM, Berlin)
[2] 2017: 1,520 exhibitors from 58 countries; Basis: figures for 2017 FKM certified
[3] 2017: 85,448 visitors; Basis: figures for 2017 FKM certified
[4] 2017: 1,520 exhibitors from 58 countries; Basis: figures for 2017 FKM certified
[5] 2017: 33,558 visitors (11,609 from Germany; 21,949 from abroad); Basis: figures for 2017 FKM certified

Background information on Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. With over 2,500 employees at some 30 locations, the company generates annual sales of around €661* million. Thanks to its far-reaching ties with the relevant sectors and to its international sales network, the Group looks after the business interests of its customers effectively. A comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. With its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent). * preliminary figures for 2017
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