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Connecting With the Global Hardware Industry at the International Hardware Fair

Taking place in Cologne, Germany, the 2022 Eisenwarenmesse International Hardware Fair, hosted by Koelnmesse, brought together retailers, vendors and other industry players from around the world for four days of product discovery, education and networking. The event connected the global hardware industry and included more than 1,400 exhibitors from over 50 countries. 

This fair was the first in-person event since the start of the pandemic, and director Matthias Becker says being together face-to-face has been a driving force for the organization.

“Our attendees’ need for personal encounters and experiencing a trade fair with all the senses is deeply rooted and cannot be replaced digitally,” he says. “The industry is a worldwide family, and it’s been a good feeling seeing people reunite and meet again. It’s like a family reunion for the industry.”

Attendees who couldn’t make it to Germany could take advantage of the Digital Summit, offering numerous online sessions covering a variety of topics. The sessions covered supply chain logistics, warehouse management, shipping channels, e-commerce and direct-to-consumer business. Other Digital Summit sessions addressed issues including omnichannel, social media, branding and customer journeys. 

The show kicked off with the 2022 EISEN Awards, featuring the best ideas, inventions and solutions in products. The three winning products included the AluTec from Picard, a first of its kind carpenter’s hammer with a steel and aluminum head and aluminum handle and balanced head weight. The SOLA-Messwerkzeuge GO! SMART is a three-in-one tool that has a level, inclinometer and protractor with a rotatable, easy-to-read backlit display. Rounding out the winners was the ToughBuilt Scraper Utility Knife, the first utility knife that can switch to a scraper with the flick of the thumb.

Buyers Day was back again for this show, giving buyers helpful best practices and solutions on buyer-relevant topics. Educational sessions shed light on the current developments and trends for buyers in the hardware market and focused on topics like procurement in a high-price environment, supply chain disruptions and supplier management. 

Start Up Day highlighted young, innovative companies and gave them the opportunity to present their ideas and solutions. New this year, on the main stage of the show, was the EISENforum, which focused on e-commerce and was led by digital rockstar Michael Atug. 

“The pandemic significantly accelerated digitization and online commerce, and manufacturers went more into direct sales during the pandemic because stores were closed,” Becker says. “The e-commerce area provided attendees with a place to find digital solutions and get in touch with vendors.”  

DIY Boulevard featured over 50 companies highlighting their products for the DIY audience. Thanks to thoughtful and innovative displays, retailers could see and touch the products and discover ideas for how the products could be displayed in their own operations. 

Trends Across the Globe

Along with product discovery, attendees came away with trends that will be leading the industry going into 2023. The industry will see a focus on sustainability, including optimizing products to be more eco-friendly and converse resources and utilizing more battery powered and electric sources for tools and equipment. 

Other trends include the digitalization of products, offering products that are both functional and ergonomic and products that serve multiple purposes to be more efficient. 

For more information on upcoming trade shows from Koelnmesse, including the International Hardware Fair Italy in Bergamo in May 2023, click here. Listen to Lindsey’s recap podcast here and follow Hardware Retailing on social media for more photos and videos from the event. 

Instagram: @hardwareretailing

Facebook: @HardwareRetailing

Twitter: @hardwareretail

Lead photo courtesy of Koelnmesse

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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