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The worldwide biggest garden lifestyle fair looks back upon a successful year

18-20 Jun 2023 • spoga+gafa

After decades of the fair being staged in September and a two-year break due to Covid restrictions, spoga+gafa celebrated a fortunate re-start on 19 June in 10 exhibition halls in Cologne, successfully launching the first phase of its digital matchmaking platform spoga+gafa 365 at the same time. The industry is now actively paying back its leading global trade fair for the success of the exhibition year 2022 with a strong rebooking rate and the registration of new and returnee brands for the coming trade fair in June 2023. The “Global DIY-Summit” (EDRA/GHIN, HIMA), that ends in Berlin just two days before spoga+gafa is also having a positive influence on the increasing number of exhibitors, since its participants are subsequently invited to attend spoga+gafa in Cologne. Staged from 18 to 20 June 2023 in Cologne and online all-year-round, the worldwide key theme of the coming spoga+gafa year is “Social Gardens – Places of encounters”.

Live and on the web, spoga+gafa greeted and supported over 40,000 active industry decision-makers with the re-start of the three day trade fair in June 2022, the subsequent digital “spoga+gafa After Show” and the first digital theme week “BBQ Deep Dive” in October. In challenging times for the industry, the brand spoga+gafa successfully supported its partners as a permanent business platform for supply and demand, and as a means of grooming their existing contacts and discovering new supplier relationships.  The booking figures for the current year are already demonstrating that the added value spoga+gafa provides is also relevant for the exhibitors in 2023. In direct comparison to 2022, the number of exhibitors who have already registered and the exhibition space booked is clearly up on last year’s figures. In addition to a strong increase in returnee exhibitors from North America, Asia has particularly multiplied its exhibition space at the Cologne exhibition halls. Relaxed travel conditions in China and the good feedback to last year’s spoga+gafa at international level are leading to a tangible rise in the demand.

Key theme: Social Gardens – Places of encounter
During the three-day trade fair it will be especially interesting to see how the exhibitors co-shape the multifaceted key theme of spoga+gafa 2023 “Social Gardens ‒ places of encounter” at their stands. The theme focuses on the connecting power of gardens: “Whether one spends time gardening together, celebrating or relaxing, gardens, balconies and terraces, but also garden centres and DIY stores are meeting points for families, friends and neighbours. We would like to highlight at spoga+gafa how manufacturers and the trade support this function of the garden ‒ from garden tools for toddlers, to living interiors including fully-equipped outdoor kitchens, through to tool sharing initiatives,” said Stefan Lohrberg, Director of spoga+gafa. “Furthermore, sustainability will continue to be a dominating industry theme. We always find it important to put the spotlight on new themes and thus give our exhibitors and visitors an orientation for their presentation.”

Thrilling returnees within BBQ segment
A particular focus lies on the BBQ segment. In the corresponding Halls 7 and 8, we have recorded an increase in bookings from exhibitors from North America and the DACH region. The good experiences the exhibitors and visitors from the specialised trade and large-surface outlets enjoyed in 2022 are the reason for the positive booking behaviour in these challenging times for the BBQ industry. Above all the quality of the visitors attending from Germany and abroad, whether from the specialised trade, large-surface outlets or online, convinced the exhibitors. The success of the trade fair party on Sunday, where the BBQ exhibitors were the focus of attention, as well as the prominent involvement of globally relevant BBQ creators is having an additional favourable impact on the current booking status. Here it becomes apparent that the BBQ exhibitors proactively plan their trade fair appearance and alongside the large exhibition areas also place a special focus on live cooking and exclusive show areas outdoors. Among others, returnee brands like Char Broil and Santos are on board here. spoga+gafa is also greeting products of the brand Traeger at the fair grounds again and is supporting brands like Enders or Campingaz with the expansion of their exhibition space.

garden living strong as usual and expansion of garden creation & care
The suppliers of outdoor furniture are a further strong group of international exhibitors in 2023 ‒ and that in spite of an active trade fair market, a difficult market situation and a trade that is suffering from a lacking number of visitors. 80 percent of the companies that exhibited in 2022 already confirmed their participation in 2023 during the early booking phase that ended in mid-September. This positive booking trend was ongoing, so that spoga+gafa 2023 can already look forward to welcoming the majority of the worldwide outdoor furniture suppliers. The most significant expansion of this year’s trade fair once again proved to be a threefold increase in exhibition space up to 900 square metres in the section of outdoor furniture suppliers. Among others brands like Glatz, Doppler or Kettler have repositioned themselves, enlarged their stands or are carrying out more advertising measures. What’s more, in 2023, the members of the DOFAS (Dutch Outdoor Furnishing Association), such as Apple Bee, LIFE Outdoor Living or 4SO are for example placing their bets on the international visitors of spoga+gafa.

Top players of the garden lifestyle industry
The exhibitors as a whole have always reflected the diversity of the garden lifestyle industry and thus that of spoga+gafa. In 2023, the international top players from the “Playing in the Garden” section as well as the large plant pot and decoration manufacturers will showcase their brands and wide range of products on regularly sized or indeed larger stand areas. Alongside well-known companies, BIG-Spielwarenfabrik is also exhibiting for the first time in Hall 5.2. On the other side of the trade fair boulevard in Hall 10.1, among others the members of the EFSA (European floral and lifestyle suppliers association) are presenting themselves on further enlarged exhibition space in 2023. Among others, Capi Europe has expanded its presence; in cooperation with new members of the EFSA, which will be presenting their product developments in different halls in 2023. The expansion of Hall 6 under the “garden creation & care” segment is also experiencing a positive development. Not only are the customary number of companies that belong to the IVG (Industry Garden Association) exhibiting, Bosch or Merotec for example are expanding their presence at the coming event or are taking part for the first time again. Moreover, new exhibitors such as Ikra are also profiting from the appeal of Hall 6.

Global DIY Summit taking place in Germany right before to spoga+gafa
Due to the fact that the Global DIY Summit ends just two days before spoga+gafa, many transcontinental visitors will make their way to Cologne again. The elite of the DIY trade is invited to get to know worldwide new products as well as the current trends and developments of the international garden industry during the three trade fair days of spoga+gafa. The exclusive evening event on Sunday, i.e. on the first day of the trade fair, is also exciting: It will offer the visitors and exhibitors a chance to engage in an exchange at the Rheinterrassen and intensify the discussions they held during the day while enjoying a view of the Rhine and Cologne Cathedral.

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