The outbreak of the pandemic had a strong impact also on the Chinese economy, with negative effects not only on production but also on footwear consumption, and with clear repercussions also for 2022, especially in the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, and Shandong. As far as the footwear manufacturing industry is concerned, from January to April 2022, China imported 1.9 billion USD in footwear, with a downtrend of -12% from the previous year. From January to April, footwear purchases dropped-off by around -6% in the Chinese market, with a loss of -23% in the month of April alone.

The attentive monitoring of the global market and innovative drive, which have always characterised Expo Riva Schuh, has seen the organisers identify alternative ways ‘to bring to the fair’ also exhibitors who, in this delicate post-pandemic moment, could not easily travel. 

New and innovative services have accordingly been launched, including the Digital Connection online platform, and above all the Hybrid Service. As already seen in the January edition, Hybrid Service is an exclusive service of stand management, representing a perfect mix between physical and online presence. It in fact calls for physical stands present at the fair. where the sample collections of the businesses are exhibited. Thanks to a “turnkey” service, exhibitors can coordinate their remote participation, supported by qualified personnel physically present at the event.  The Hybrid Service in fact includes the presence at the stand of a multilingual hostess, who prepares and sets up the stand, while also supporting the activities of the stand during the days of the fair. At the same time, a special digital platform with internet connection allows exhibitors and buyers to interact with one another, while also allowing the stand’s personnel to be trained with a general coordination of all aspects.

According to the GUANGZHOU NEWTOP EXHIBITION BUSINESS CO., LTD. agency: “The platform allows Chinese manufacturers to contact international buyers and remotely deliver new sample collections to long-standing customers. A service that our companies appreciated a lot”. 

Of the same opinion is also G&F CO., LTD: “The Hybrid way of participating in the Garda fair overcomes time-space barriers, allowing for a greater diversification and internationalisation of exhibitors. Undoubtedly, the hybrid format is more suited to establishing an effective dialogue between buyers and exhibitors, who are unable to physically participate in the fair in this unusual moment that is still subject to the effects of the pandemic”.

“This model is the best choice in the current epidemic situation – confirms the XIAMEN L & C INT'L EXHIBITION CO., LTD agency – because it allows exhibitors to maintain relations with established customers, while also attracting new buyers through the presentation of samples from the new collection, which can be seen and touched with the hand. All this allows for business to be undertaken in a completely effective way, with full respect for safety, while avoiding international travel that is not always permitted. Already from the first edition, we successfully organised the ‘Hybrid Service’ with different groups of exhibitors so they could participate in the fair, and the feedback was excellent, with a renewal rate that arrived at 95%!”