Talking to several exhibitors, we have been introduced to the peculiarities of the Spanish baby care products market, which has entered a phase of recovery. IFEMA’s Lola González explains that Puericultura Madrid mainly addresses the independent retailers of Spain and Portugal.
The fourth edition of Puericultura Market, international baby care products show, was held from Thursday September 29 to Sunday October 2 and introduced about 490 brands, representing 28 countries, to the specialist retailers of the Iberian peninsula. Since it covers a wide and deep offer extending to all nursery categories and children’s fashion, the fair attracts visitors from abroad, not only from Europe but also from North Africa, Middle East, Latin America, United States and China. In 2016, it was attended by 7,059 trade visitors, 4,515 of them identified as high level professionals. Visitors from abroad amounted to 494, from 30 countries; more than half of them were from Portugal, with a 10 per cent increase.
Entering the large Hall 9 of Feria de Madrid we have once more appreciated the visual quality of the exhibition, which results neat and pleasant thanks to the harmonious layout of the standbooths – most of them open to view – and to the low noise level.
According to data released by Asepri, the relevant industry association, the Spanish baby products market has been recovering in the years 2014 and 2015 but has not returned to the top turnover figures it had reached in 2010.
For the 2016 edition IFEMA, which organises Puericultura Market, has proposed some new features. In a dedicated space, on Friday and Saturday the Pasarela MIMO Madrid offered presentations of collections by Bébécar, Cybex, Kiddy, Micuna and Tuc Tuc and a children’s fashion show by Marca España, organised by Asepri in collaboration with IFEMA (the money raised from the companies taking part in it was donated to the Spanish Red Cross). New areas were Innovative Toy, exhibiting products and prototypes that cover new trends in toy design, developed by brands of Spanish origin and by foreign companies too, and Baby & Mum Experience housing a selection of innovative and trendy collections of childcare products.
Inside the Puericultura Madrid exhibition, special sections gathered companies of the toy and children’s fashion businesses. The Retail Forum’s workshops addressing the nursery specialist retailers were extended to a toy trends seminar. While the Galería de Productos Estrella (Flagship Products Gallery) displayed new products by 24 renowned exhibitors, the Starter’s Space promoted 10 emerging companies in stands measuring 6 square meter each, made of white wood.
The market according to the exhibitors
Chicco’s was one of the largest standbooths. “This is a fair of the traditional kind, where you not only introduce new products but also take orders”, says José M. Fontclara, general manager of Artsana Spain. “Last year, in our 350 square meter stand we welcomed 500 Spanish customers. In Spain, whose market it entered about 50 years ago, the Italian brand is very strong: the consumers spontaneously indicate it as the number one in the nursery sector, and one of the reasons is the very wide offer of product categories, which represents such an advantage that many other brands are following this direction, as births decrease and the marketplace dwindles”.
Pali is another Italian brand which has achieved good awareness in Spain: “However, we feel the need to make it more visible”, comments Gabriele Masarotti, commercial manager. “So we take part – for the second time – in Puericultura Madrid with the aim to introduce our complete range to our customers. In this market the regional differences are quite pronounced, from the classic style to a minimal approach, and, since in Italy we face more or less the same situation, we manage to appeal to all tastes”.
Distribuciones Independent is a special kind of distributor, as Michael Centerblad, director, explains: “Spanish customers appreciate our Scandinavian brands because of the clean design, practicality and quality. My wife and I are Swedish and we only sell what we like. Spanish consumers are very different among them: for instance, the Catalans are more design-oriented and minimalistic while the Basques prefer a classic style, with laces and showy decorations, and want pink and blue products”. The company distributes eight brands in Spain, Baby Dan, Babybjörn and Thule among them.
El Bebé Aventurero, which controls the distributing company Millenium Baby, represents brands such as Avionaut, Easywalker, Kids II, Nattou, Philips Avent and Trunki in the Spanish marketplace: “We have been operating in this business for 19 years, dealing with the Avent lines right from the start and later with Maclaren (for 9 years) and then Cybex, among other brands”, says Xavier Rabasa Guinart, product manager for the wheeled goods. “In Spain there is a good network of independent retailers, maybe 2,400 shops, and not all of them sell the same brands; many specialist retailers look for exclusive ones. We serve about 800 and our job is taking care of them. Since we also sell to companies like El Corte Inglés, Prénatal, Toys ‘R’ Us and Amazon, in order to protect our independent retailers we do not supply the mass market with the whole catalogue but only with selected items”.
More exports for the Spanish industry
According to Lola González, IFEMA’s exhibition director, “Puericultura Madrid mainly addresses the independent retailers who do not like to go to foreign fairs, both because travelling is expensive and because it is difficult to do business abroad. Here they can see all the new products displayed by the manufacturers and by the distributors, in a favourable period of the year, in view of Christmas sales too. Our event also covers the Portuguese professionals. Every year we engage ourselves to attract visitors offering favourable conditions and proposing new activities (in 2016, the catwalk has returned and a new area devoted to toy innovation has been created). Even small nursery shops can sell high level products, because babies have become very important, as their number decreases, and for them parents want quality and safety. For the Spanish baby care products industry, in 2015 export has reached 51 per cent of the total turnover, while that share was of 25.9 per cent ten years before: Italy is the number one foreign customer, followed by Russia, Latin America and Germany. Therefore, our show is visited by foreign buyers interested in the Spanish production, and we promote this attendance. However, it is also a good opportunity for foreign manufacturers willing to sell more on the Spanish market”.