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What's new in Nurnberg.

Trade shows and conventions are the derigueur travel points during the winter months for just about all salesmen and managers in any line of work. In the shooting industry, the SHOT Show held during the month of January, and the European IWA show in March are die two most prominent.

Both are important - one could even say essential - and each show offers a different insight into the world of sporting small arms, because each show is unique and singular.

If the SHOT Show is important in terms of new products and trade in North America, then it can be said the IWA show (which stands for the International Trade Fair for Hunting and Sporting Arms and Accessories) is the show for focusing marketing efforts in Europe and points beyond.

Many veteran American IWA exhibitors will voice their conviction that the average IWA visitor is different from the average SHOT Show attendee. The Europeans are more serious about business and they know beforehand what their customers want. These differences in mental outlook, when coupled together with the old world charm and the relaxed atmosphere of IWA make the show one of the more pleasurable of winter time conventions.


There, are physical differences between the two shows beyond simple geographics. The SHOT Show migrates between different locations, a prime criteria being a city with an exhibition hall large enough to house this trade show extravaganza, while the IWA show always remains in the same city and same exhibit hall, the Messezentrum in Nuremberg, Germany.

There are advantages and benefits to both systems. The migration of the SHOT Show allows its visitors to sample the night life and cuisine from different metropolitan areas across the southern United States, thereby providing each regular with a refreshing change - something new, different, previously unknown.

Nuremberg, on the other hand, also offers many advantages. The primary ones being in transportation, as the city has an excellent mass transit system that is efficient, clean, and very reasonable in cost. Additionally, even though the United States provides the largest number of foreign exhibits at IWA, the city and Germany itself are still distant enough that a return visit to a favorite restaurant within the old city walls is contemplated with savory anticipation by the returning regular.

The IWA show is also run differently because each exhibitor, as a rule, is provided the same exhibition space within the different halls year after year. There are exceptions, and this past year saw more movement of exhibitors than in years past. Some of this was due to various exhibitors requesting larger areas, and some was due to the growing number of new exhibitors wanting space at the most important sporting arms trade show in Europe.

Generally, experienced IWA visitors knew exactly where to go without consulting the directory to find established customers, firms, and friends. The Messezentrum exhibition hall is actually a series of five irregularly shaped hexagon halls that are interconnected. The floor space available to the exhibitors has increased steadily over the years to the point that some felt it may have reached a physical limit for these five halls, labeled A thru E, in 1993.

This year the exhibition area totaled almost 18,000 square meters. This represents an increase of almost 1,000 square meters every year for the past three years. Attendance has grown steadily over the previous three years also. In 1990, IWA had 9,802 trade visitors. In 1991, this grew to 10,254, and in 1992 it increased to 11,639. Of that figure, 4,904 were foreign or non-German visitors. The figures for 1993 were unavailable, but everyone commented during the show on the crowded aisles that in previous years seemed more casual.

Who Comes To IWA?

America and Italy represent the two countries with the largest foreign contingents. In 1993, there were 79 American firms that were direct exhibitors, while there were an additional 74 that were subsidiary exhibitors. The subsidiary exhibitors were those that were represented by an agent, or who shared a small portion of a booth with a larger exhibitor.

All of these firms are aware of the growing trends within the world of small arms, and Europe (like America) is beginning a love affair with the shotgun sport, sporting clays, only in Europe the game is called "parcours shooting."

All European shooting sports are based upon a sporting requirement and usually this is cemented through a club connection. For this, parcours shooting is enjoying great success, and this success has fostered a wide range of diverse products ranging from new shotguns, to shooting jackets, even down to shoes.

Emphasis was also seen this year in home security cabinets for firearms. (Another feature of European firearms ownership, the owner is usually required to maintain secure storage facilities for his firearm.) The difference this year is a greater emphasis on more decorative, aesthetically pleasing cabinets in place of the plain steel wall locker, because studies have shown the European consumer wants a more upscale product today.

A trend that was more noticeable this year at IWA was the increase in clothing exhibitors featuring outdoor clothing for women. Not only clothing, but a number of items with outdoor themes like smaller hunting knives, binoculars, even decorative items for the home.

IPSC shooting is increasingly popular in Europe and this popularity is reflected in the number of accessories like scope mounts and other add-on parts that gain advantage for an IPSC sportsman.

IWA offers something to everyone from every aspect of the shooting sports, but most of all IWA offers the opportunity to do business in a relaxed, yet serious atmosphere.

Part of this could be due to the setting of the show: Nuremberg is a beautiful old city with an ancient castle overlooking the city center. Part of this could be due to the wonderful restaurants found throughout Nuremberg. Part of it could be due to the hospitality shown by the Germans themselves, who seem genuinely glad to have you as a visitor. Part of it could be the best beer in the world (due to the German purity laws), but the main reason could be nothing more than the success of the event.

After all, success does create an atmosphere for even more success.
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Title Annotation:International Trade Fair for Hunting and Sporting Arms and Accessories in Nuremberg, Germany
Author:James, Frank
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Previous Article:Handgun roundup 1993.
Next Article:New products.

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