Every year hundreds of manufacturers and brands of the baby and toddler industry from all over the world meet at the biggest and most important industry trade fairs Kind + Jugend which takes place in Cologne, Germany. What special was presented at Kind + Jugend this year? What trends do influence today one of the most sensitive industries? These and other questions we addressed to the Director of Kind + Jugend 2019, Mr. Jörg Schmale.
Interview with with Jörg Schmale, Director of Kind + Jugend 2019
Mr. Schmale, first of all I would like to thank you for this great opportunity to ask you some questions about Kind +Jugend 2019. What’s new at Kind + Jugend this year?
What we found this year is that Kind + Jugend shows definitely deep content in the field of sustainability, especially in the field of textiles. Another obvious feature is connected devices Things in the children’s rooms get more and more connected (via smartphones etc.)
Do you see more new participants this year?
20% of the exhibitors are new this year. Some companies came back like Mattel or Bugaboo. There are also many exhibitors from Japan, from India and from other Asian countries. From Germany came one of the most famous German companies Schmidt Spiele. We grow every year.
The reasons why some companies are coming back to the fair might be quite different: from the launching of a new product line as Mattel to economic situations. But many realized that there is no better opportunity than Kind + Jugend 2019 to spread their products to an international audience. We see that Kind + Jugend has become the most important platform for all those players in the industry of baby and childcare products.
How would you describe the current trends in the industry?
We can see many trends in new design or colours. The hardware sector is very much about security and safety. For example, special car seats which can regulate the temperature of the seat or special systems which signalize if you leave the baby in the car and the door is locked, or the baby moves in its seat,
There is an opinion, that parents are fashionistas. What do you think? Does fashion play a big role in this sector?
What we see is that we have a fashion for babies and this fashion doesn’t have seasonality. As for parent, we can see that the colours don’t match gender, clothes tend to be unisex. Another trend is that there is more impact from Scandinavian fashion brands. Many Germans, for example, go to Nordic countries for holidays, people like the Scandinavian way of life. And though, the brands from Norway, Sweden, Denmark become new trend setters.
The traditional retail is shaped by digitalization of the economy. What impact does it have on the players in the baby and toddler industry?
Indeed, we see a yearly decline in the traditional retail, and we notice that more and more businesses go online. Another aspect of the digitalization is seen within the products: connected devices, apps and so on. And it is obvious: more people buy online. Retail has to change. Many retailers develop omni channels concepts that allows the marketing of their products both via online and offline channels.
Kind + Jugend has a good tradition in awarding innovative companies. Would you please share with our audience some words about Kind + Jugend Innovation Awards?
Kind + Jugend invite exhibitors to send their innovations for to be judged by our special jury. There are 8 different categories and a company can apply to win one of these awards. We have a winner in each category and all the winners are awarded at our special event at the 1st day of the fair. Every year we have 8 winners. This year among those 8 winners we awarded both brand new and very traditional companies, we have also 3 winners from Asia what proves a strong competition. Sometimes Asian brands have the most innovative products.
Let me wish Kind + Jugend from our audience all the best in future expositions. Thank you very much for this interesting interview!
Interviewed by Jane Wienpahl