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ITALY IS PROMOTING ONLY HIGH-END PRODUCTS AT THE AUGUST GIFT FAIR
It is the most important exhibition in the gift and household goods sector for the North America region: The International Gift Fair of New York (www.nyigf.com) is at the forefront in presenting new developments from various collections as well as being one of the main global centres of reference for the sector within the United States market. In view of the next edition - which will be held in the North American city from 17 to 21 August 2008 - Italian companies in the sector are getting ready to participate through a collective group organised by the ICE, the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade.
The fair takes place every half-year and is hosted within the Jacob Javits Convention Center trade fair complex: it attracts around 2,700 exhibitors on average, drawn from all the continents, and an average of 43 thousand visitors. The next edition is being preannounced as the richest ever, thanks to the extension of the product range on display to include home furnishings and accessories for interior decoration (curtains, carpets, decorative items for walls and lighting solutions).
The diverse sector on show at the United States fair is currently experiencing a particularly favourable economic situation: it is therefore an opportunity for the Italian companies participating at the International Gift Fair to address their objective of consolidating and setting up commercial relationships with the USA. Local demand remains high, especially in the artistic craft sector and for gift articles: imports in 2007 reached a level of 22 billion dollars in value terms, with growth of 1.4% compared to the previous year. The mid-range and cheap sector is almost entirely dominated by manufacturers from the Far East, which receive multi-million dollar orders for high volumes of merchandise from the large United States mass distribution chains.
Italy holds a significant share of the USA market (7.5%) thanks to exports which amount to 1.6 billion dollars. And last year too, Italy was confirmed as the leading supplier among the Eurozone countries: the elements which distinguish Italian supplies (moving increasingly towards the premium sectors) include the ability to imbue the product with an enhanced ‘handicraft’ tradition that sets it apart from competing products – especially those from Asia - and satisfies the demanding North American clientele.
In recent years the priority for Italian companies in the sector has been precisely the issue of “diversification”. In that sense, Italian prestige may be safeguarded not only by the uniqueness and originality deriving from stylistic research and by the original use of materials (increasingly new and original combinations are constantly being researched), but also by the cultural tradition which can be glimpsed behind every product: reproductions of works of art have been very successful in recent years. This will ensure that, even looking ahead, there will remain an elite gap in the market for Italy, considering that currently only Chinese and Indian products are on sale through mass distribution.