Just in case you weren’t already aware, Fensterbau, the biggest fenestration trade show in Europe, begins on Wednesday 16th and concludes Saturday 19th March. It’s a once-in-two-years exhibition and one that everyone wants to be at, whether you’re visiting or exhibiting. I unfortunately won’t be attending. It’s on my list of things to do, and I would like to tick that one off sooner rather than later.

Then, if four weeks time, there is the FIT Show in Telford, who as it happens will also have a presence at Fensterbau. Perhaps looking to attracts a little more international attention as the British show moves to the NEC next time.

But these coming four weeks are more than just shows, they are the most important four weeks for our window and door sector all year. Perhaps the most for a few years.

Business to be won

It’s been two years since the last Fensterbau and FIT Show. Which means companies have had two years to research and develop new products that will hopefully win them more business. As we head closer to our own exhibition in the UK, there are a number of companies touting “game changing” products. Lets hope they live up to that title.

The fact is, exhibitions like this are unique opportunities in which to sign up new business. Rarely do so many companies get so many prospective customers in one place. The potential is enormous. Get your product, marketing and stands right for those few days and there is some serious business to be won.

Get it wrong however, and you’ll fail in front of the largest industry audience. This is no time to flop. Thousands upon thousands of analytical minds and opinions will wander around your stand, wondering if your new product is the one to help them win new customers themselves.

Two years in the making

For many businesses exhibiting at both these shows, it’s been something long in the planning.

Most companies choose shows like Fensterbau and FIT Show to demonstrate the new products they have either released recently, brand new ones, or ones they plan to make live in a short while. Exhibitors know that visitors aren’t interested in seeing products they already know about. So they have to develop and create something new to make sure they get feet on their stands.

But for me, I think these shows are perhaps the most important for a very long time. There is no doubt that the British market have come along in great leaps and bounds in recent years. Maybe not as advanced as the German market for example, but I don’t think that gap is quite as big now. Yet it’s the wider context in which these shows are taking place which gives them greater importance.

The economic headwinds are gathering. We appear to be on a slow decline, with the 2016 Budget on Wednesday shaping up to be a severe lesson in austerity. There is increasing pressure on our industry to continue to develop and adapt to ensure that we still have enough reasons for home owners to keep buying our products. These shows, especially the FIT Show in the UK, is the single best chance we have to see if we are in fact moving in the right direction.

For me to think that, I will be taking a serious look at the products being billed as game changers. If the industry is indeed to move forward and ensure that any economic shock is navigated safely, these new lines have to live up to their hype. If though they are a re-hash of the same old ideas and concepts, then I’m afraid they will fail.

So, these next few weeks are huge for the industry. They will tell us if the industry is moving in the right direction and at a quick enough pace. They will give an indication as to the general health of the industry, and what it thinks is in store for us all in the coming few years.

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