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Paperworld 2019: trends and innovations inspire the sector

6 Feb 2019

The three consumer-goods fairs in Frankfurt – Christmasworld, Paperworld and Creativeworld – successfully opened the new business season with future-oriented topics and the latest trends. 3,119 exhibitors from 68 countries[1] inspired the national and international trade with innovations from the fields of seasonal and festive decoration, paper, office supplies and stationery, and hobby, handicrafts and artists’ requisites.

More than 87,000 visitors from 161 countries2 made their way to Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre to discover highlights and new products for their businesses at the three leading international trade fairs. “The high level of internationality is one of the most decisive qualitative factors of our events. The outstanding visitor quality and the personal contacts are also unique features whereby interactivity, emotionalization and intelligent links between the analogue and digital worlds are the main driving forces for the coming business season. And our trio of fairs generate the right impulses for this”, says Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt. The trade-fair trio confirmed its role as the international market place for innovations and an indispensable business platform for the exchange of information.

Stand with modern office supplies at Paperworld
The modern workplace: one of the main themes at Paperworld. Photo: Messe Frankfurt

Paperworld scores with future-oriented trends

With its range of office and stationery products, as well as a comprehensive complementary programme of events, Paperworld is in tune with the latest developments. The world’s biggest trade fair for paper, office supplies and stationery presented new themes for the sector to get visitors and exhibitors fit for a profitable business year in 2019 “We are delighted with the large number of exhibitors, which proves that Paperworld is the world’s most important trade fair for the paper, office supplies and stationery sector. A total of 1,668 exhibitors from 64 countries3 made presentations during the four days of the fair. With renewed growth for the second year running, we have provided a stable foundation for the sector – and this despite the challenging situation in the market”, says Stephan Kurzawski, Senior Vice President, Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH.

According to this year’s exhibitor poll, around two thirds of companies were very pleased with the visitor standard. Almost 80 percent of exhibitors said they had achieved their goals for the fair. Accordingly, over three quarters of exhibitors stated that they were highly satisfied with their results at Paperworld. “Manufacturers of branded products have begun the year on an optimistic note. They met their national and international customers at Paperworld 2019, which makes the fair the ideal communication platform at the beginning of the year. The exhibition halls offered an almost complete overview of the market – with satisfied exhibitors and the usual high visitor standard”, said Thomas Bona, Managing Director, Office Brands Industry Association (Verband der PBS-Markenindustrie).

High degree of internationality and satisfied visitors

33,010 trade visitors, 10,110 of them from Germany and 22,900 from abroad4, made their way to Frankfurt to gain inspiration from the last trends and new products.

Visitor and exhibitor numbers Paperworld 2019

According to the visitor poll, 92 percent of trade visitors were very pleased with the range of products to be seen and the degree to which they achieved their goals at Paperworld. This positive echo shows that Frankfurt is not only an international market place for innovations but also an indispensable business platform for the exchange of ideas and information on a personal plane. “The retail trade appreciates the broad spectrum to be seen at Paperworld and takes advantage of the opportunities offered by the supplementary product lines to be found at Creativeworld and Christmasworld. Particular emphasis must be given to the high-grade, future-oriented selection of lectures, forums and special presentations”, says Thomas Grothkopp, Director General of the Home and Office Retail Trade Association (Handelsverband Wohnen und Büro).

After Germany, the most trade visitors came from China, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the USA, as well as France and Spain. Particularly large increases were noted from China, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Austria.

Matthias Schumacher, Director International Sales & Key Account Management Consumer & Craftsmen, Tesa, also praised the high level of visitor internationality: “We had a really good fair and our rather modest expectations were exceeded by far. The number of visitors to our stand was very high. All important visitors for us – from wholesalers to office specialists and retailers – came to Paperworld and brought lots of time with them. From outside Germany, we welcomed all key accounts from Europe and were able to generate new leads from, for example, Africa and the Middle East. After this Paperworld, we can look to the future with confidence.”

Positive echo: office and stationery under the same roof

Paperworld is the only international trade fair for paper, office supplies and stationery to bring together the two segments, office and stationery, under the same roof. This year, Hall 3 was the setting for both. The private-oriented stationery segment has been regrouped in Hall 3.1 while trade visitors could discover the latest products for the modern office workplace in Hall 3.0. Discussing her company’s business at the fair, Martina Schneider, Head of Public Relations, Schneider Schreibgeräte GmbH said, “We are very pleased and the number of visitors to Hall 3.0 has been very good. Paperworld is the right place to reach our international customers. Sustainability was one of the major topics that we focused on in a virtual-reality presentation – with great success and a positive echo.”

The new layout of Hall 3.1 proved particularly popular among exhibitors: “We are very pleased with Paperworld and our new position. Hall 3.1 is a real success. The layout is extremely good and offers visitors a wealth of inspiration and application examples. On top of that, the blend of exhibitors is perfect, and we also benefited from this with more visitors than the year before”, said Domenic Meier, CEO, Artoz Papier AG.

The areas of visitor interest also reflected the high level of demand for the two product segments. The most popular product groups were office paper and mailing materials (33 percent), office and desk equipment (27 percent), organisational aids, calendars and note books (24 percent), as well as printer and IT supplies (24 percent). “I gain inspiration from the new trends and products at Paperworld. It is important that our stationer’s stands out from the others and for this reason I am always on the lookout for special products in the office paper and writing utensil segments. Here at Paperworld, I find such products”, said Anne Schwarz, member of the staff of Kargl Schreibkultur, Koblenz.

‘Future Office’ a magnet for visitors in the office sector

Paperworld is also distinguished by future-oriented themes that are taken up in the professional-development programme and other events. Thus, the lectures and exhibition of the ‘Future Office’ offer insights into flexible office worlds. This is the third time running that Paperworld has put the spotlight on a subject of importance to the office sector. “The trend in the working world is shifting away from classic, one-dimensional offices to flexible office landscapes. In this connection, we learn from the strengths and weaknesses of mono-functional forms”, says architect André Schmidt of Architekturbüro Matter in Berlin and curator of the presentation.

In addition to the varied and interesting programme of lectures for the trade, facility managers and architects, several exhibitors once again presented their latest products in the ‘Future Office’, e.g., Legamaster showed whiteboards and presentation screens, Wilkhahn displayed flexible seating and dynamic tables, Ceka presented a flexible meeting room while Luctra was represented by an office-lighting collection. Taking part for the first time was Moresy with a mobile registration system about which the company’s CEO, Jens Bruins, said, “The ‘Future Office’ concept is spot-on, and I have been overwhelmed by the way in which it attracts trade visitors. This is the first time that we have exhibited at any fair: our product goes perfectly with the presentation and, of course, the subject of flexibility. We have received some extremely positive feedback from widely different target groups, which is very inspiring.”

Multi-faceted complementary programme of events in the stationery sector

The focus of the Paperworld Trends in Hall 3.1 was on the latest lifestyle trends in the field of paper, writing, giving and school articles. The presentation offers the trade inspiration for supplementary product lines and in-shop design and decoration.

Another highlight in Hall 3.1 was the Mr. Books & Mrs. Paper presentation, which offered an impressive demonstration of how booksellers and other retailers can skilfully combine different product segments and thus generate additional sales. “At Paperworld, I encounter numerous younger designers in the greetings-card segment, who I do not meet at other fairs. Also, I am interested in note books, because they complement the books in my shop purposefully. I glean useful ideas from ‘Mr. Books & Mrs. Paper’, for example, interesting concepts for themed tables and windows”, says Andrea Tuscher, proprietor of ‘Buchladen am Markt’ in Offenbach am Main. This time, curator Angela Niestrath showed how smaller spaces can be attractively decorated with ‘table stages’.

Even more impulses for the retail trade were supplied by Wrap up! – the show for trendy gift wrapping with Ulla Büning. In her demonstrations, the wrapping expert offered ideas for eye-catching gift wrapping and the latest manufacturers’ trends.

Natural, chic and classic for the coming season

This year the retail trade can draw on a variety of trends: simple elegance and opulent chic are not mutually exclusive. Whether it is classic dark shades of blue and green combined with shimmering gold, or light natural shades with silver highlights – both trends shout urban chic and give the office a classic touch. These colour trends are coupled with sustainable products, natural materials, reduction and a whiff of exclusivity.

For the modern office workplace or the home office, Paperworld is showcasing folders made of cork and calendars made from handmade papers, which need very little water to manufacture. These products are combined with pale beige or pastel colours, which lend an airy and, at the same time, modern touch to the office. The light colours of summer are brought into the office, whilst geometric motifs remain on trend, this time heavily inspired by art deco elements. At Paperworld, this trend adorned note books, folders and accessories. "The marked trend towards delicate pastels and relaxed non-colours reflects the need for calm and naturalness. These very subtle colours and materials have a soothing effect. They create that certain feel-good factor as a counterpoint to the speed and sensory overload in our urbanised world", says Katrin-Rössler-Ehlers, Product Development & Marketing, at Rössler GmbH & Co. KG.

In parallel with simple elegance, flexibility plays a decisive role in the office. Whether it is tables that can be transformed into whiteboards in one easy move, or digital pens and stamps – there is a very clear trend towards future-oriented solutions with enhanced functionality and classic features. So next season the managers’ office will be furnished in a simple way in dark colours. Reduction is the key word.

"This year’s Paperworld was a very enjoyable trade fair. Our product innovations, divided into solutions for office supplies, office equipment and office furnishings, went down very well with visitors to the fair. And our problem-solving expertise as work-life experts also met with great interest", says Frank Indenkämpen, CEO, Novus Dahle GmbH.


Next year, the consumer-goods fairs will once again be held around the last Saturday of January:
Christmasworld: 24 to 28 January 2020
Paperworld and Creativeworld: 25 to 28 January 2020

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1 2018: 3,017 exhibitors from 69 countries (FKM certified / audited), figures for 2019 before auditing
2018: 86,503 visitors from 160 countries (FKM certified / audited), figures for 2019 before auditing
2018: 1,634 exhibitors from 66 countries (FKM certified / audited), figures for 2019 before auditing
2018: 33,787 visitors; 11,072 from Germany, 22,715 from abroad (FKM certified / audited), figures for 2019 before auditing

Background information on Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. With over 2,500* employees at 30 locations, the company generates annual sales of around €715* million. Thanks to its far-reaching ties with the relevant sectors and to its international sales network, the Group looks after the business interests of its customers effectively. A comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services.
With its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).
Further information is available at:

* provisional figures 2018