Several of the exhibitors at the Paris supply fair said they had exceeded their expectations even though many customers from China had canceled their visit.
Première Vision maintains its standard in its latest edition. Coronavirus has been the most repeated word in the five pavilions of the French supply fair. However, the general opinion of the participants is that the day has managed to overcome and saved the edition.
Days prior to the event, both the organization and the exhibitors and the buyers remained on alert not only regarding the decision of the Chinese operators and customers who wouldn’t attend the event but also of several participants from European countries, who withdrew at the last moment ere the coronavirus crisis.
However, the general climate of the event, which took place between February 11 and 13, was positive. On Wednesday, the first day of the fair, it ended up with long lines in the early hours to access the Paris-Nord Villepinte fairgrounds and traffic rising in the aisles of the five pavilions of the fair, where they exhibited a total of 1,775 more companies from forty countries
On Wednesday and Thursday, the day left similar conditions. The organization plans to match the number of visitors in last year’s edition in February when around 53,000 people attended.
Première Vision has embraced the participation of 1,775 exhibitors
“It has been better than we expected despite China,” says the Spanish company Bombardo, specializing in fabrics. “Especially since in the end buyers have come, which was our biggest fear,” explained from Obradors.
“We expected a total disaster, but it has been better than other editions,” they said from Textil Settam. “We are happier than we thought, we had very high expectations and they are being met,” explained Textil Dimas, for their par.
In fact, the fair continues to focus its appeal on fabric exhibitors. This segment covers the bulk of the stands of the fair and is composed mostly of international companies, the majority of them deriving from Italy, Portugal or Turkey.
The Day continues to focus its appeal on fabric exhibitors
Although the Italians were the ones who occupied the squarest meters in the space dedicated to leather, Spain was represented by companies such as Curtidos Badía, Juan Poveda, Colomer 1792, Texpiel or Inpelsa, among others.
“This edition has gone worse than other years,” explained Curtidos Badía. “And they don’t help to put the sustainability space next door,” said the stand representative. The businessman defended himself arguing that “leather is the first sustainable product because otherwise it would be thrown away, and it would be a waste.”
“The sector is in decline, the clouds are coming, especially in Spain,” said Juan Boluda’s stand. “People don’t go to stores anymore, so they don’t come to us, but neither the big ones nor the little ones, who are the ones who ultimately save us,” they explained.
Others were more dramatic. “The sector has not been replenished for many years,” they said from Juan Poveda. “Our sector has been in crisis for thirty years,” they argued, from Textil Settam. “We are like this since the retailers went to make and supply China, and they will not return,” they added.
International groups also showed the same pessimistic opinion. “The future looks very black,” they explained from a French stand. And despite its importance as the main supply hubs, some Turkish and Indian exhibitors were also skeptical of the situation.
Sustainability is, according to most exhibitors, the road to the future of the sector
External factors such as the weather or, on this occasion, the coronavirus will also take a toll on the operators of the sector. “The year will be marked by this crisis, the absence of Chinese customers is noticeable and will continue like this for the next few months,” said Curtidos Badía.
The lack of help from governments or the lack of collaboration from large companies are other factors that accentuate this situation. “They do not help us, neither from the Icex nor from the government,” they complained from the stand of Juan Boluda. “We have to go hand in hand because next to Zara we are nobody, but they also need us,” they added from Sedatex.
Other common points of all the exhibitors were the path that will mark the future of the sector: sustainability. On the other hand, they do not believe that the future will pass through production in the vicinity, “since it requires a large investment to reopen factories”, or by concentration.
All exhibitors confessed that “although we do not have a magic formula", one of the solutions in “growing in transparency, technology, and sustainability”. Thus, according to Dobert, “the industry will be important again.”