The 2016 FIT Show came and went and in three days signalled a massive change in the mood and outlook of the UK window, door and conservatory industry since the event was launched. With attendance a massive 45% up on the 2014 show with 8,502 unique visitors and the majority of those in bullish, buying mood, business would appear to be on the up in the most profound way.
Exhibitors universally reported strong interest from visitors in sourcing new products and alternative suppliers. Buoyed by the strength of the two previous events exhibitors had planned their product development programmes around this year’s FIT Show with strong pre-show publicity from many indicating a wealth of new product launches. The pre-show promise was delivered with most of the systems companies offering new products with two launching brand new window and door systems – Profile 22 with Optima and Residence 9 with its new Residence Collection. In fact the success of R9 since its launch at The FIT Show in 2013 prompted the appearance of flush fit casements from most of the systems companies this time round.
Bi-folding and residential composite doors were pre-dominant as were a rash of electronic ‘intelligent’ smart locking systems, with the advance of such products finally seeming to gain traction in the broader market.
More than 180 exhibitors occupying four halls did more than deliver their products and services however; they did it with a style and pizazz that has barely been witnessed for many years. Stands were exceptional in their creativity and innovation at all ends of the spectrum, with ‘fun’ being the prerequisite for many. Coffee shops were dotted around the halls with Trueman offering a ‘Friends’ experience that was appreciated by a full house of visitors throughout the show. Competitions and promotions thrived with the Composite Wood Company finally donating the cabin that dominated its stand and the concourse between halls to a deserving customer for his disabled son.
The Gala Dinner continued the upward spiral with almost 900 guests experiencing a Great Gatsby-themed extravaganza that included song and dance routines, trapeze and fire-eating and juggling acts that would please any West-End audience, with many guests embracing the 1920’s theme with some stunning period costumes. The announcements of the winners of the Master Fitter Challenge and Exhibitor Awards punctuated the evening with guests then dancing well into Thursday morning.
What the 2016 FIT Show represented was the window, door and conservatory industry at its very best: innovative, confident, extravagant and intent on enjoying itself. All of which has led to The FIT Show outgrowing the Telford venue and necessitating a move to The NEC for May 23rd to 25th next year with a clamour for stand space that signals a great future for the industry.