Despite a difficult year for the Belgian furniture trade, this year’s Brussels Furniture Fair exuded optimism, with a slight increase in visitor numbers (+2.24%) and impressive sales figures reported at the 80th edition of this popular show.

“For some time now, due to the concentration in the market, the success of a trade fair edition has been unrelated to the number of visitors,” says show manager Lieven Van den Heede. “Sadly, however, this is the only yardstick by which trade fairs are judged. The quality and buying potential are harder to measure, but are far more important. And luckily, both were present in profusion.”

The proportion of international visitors increased yet again (to 62.1%), yet the show reported slightly fewer visitors from Great Britain and Ireland. In total, this edition of the show welcomed 463 more guests from abroad.

There were 258 exhibitors present in total – 10 fewer than in 2016 – spread across seven halls of the Brussels Expo.

“What we find enormously pleasing is to see the quality of the presentations and the collections being improved year after year,” says Lieven. “The exhibitors are clearly all following the trend towards the high quality and high standard that befits an international trade fair. This was particularly apparent to visitors who had been absent for a number of years.

“We also try to set the example ourselves, with striking scenography for our own stands and bars, as well as for the entrance halls and the trend presentations in the corridors. Everything should be about quality and creating a special atmosphere. The result is a professional fair at an international level of which we can all be proud!”

The fair aims to put pioneering, innovative and on-trend products in the spotlight through its annual awards programme, and this year’s Balthazars went to: Mintjens Group for Bloom; Era Grupa; MTE Theuns, for the Göteborg collection; and Recor Group, for the Recor Home Collection.

“Visitors from the whole of North-west Europe have been inspired by what they have discovered at this meeting point for our sector, and have hopefully been given a boost for the next furniture season,” concludes Lieven.

The next edition of the Brussels Furniture Fair will take place from 4-7th November, 2018.