An extraordinarily positive, reinvigorated edition that put a smile back on exhibitors’ faces and marked Asia’s great return. The fair was attended by numerous institutions and foreign government delegations, demonstrating the event’s renewed and growing importance.

“At this edition, I perceived an atmosphere among the best I have ever experienced,” commented Roberto Pellegrini, Chairman of Riva del Garda Fierecongressi. “The quality of the exhibits, the range of the product offering, the depth of the events and the response from exhibitors and visitors: all of these components were met with positive feedback from the fair’s international trade visitors.”

The event once again proved to be an excellent opportunity to gauge market sentiment. Production halts in certain countries due to the pandemic and the logistics crisis of recent years have led many to rethink their procurement strategy and seek closer and more reliable partners.

The dramatic rise in inflation, on the other hand, has forced us to keep costs under control and, as a result, seek out suppliers who can provide valuable collections at reasonable prices.

In a market rife with unknowns, the Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags platform is more important than ever for analysing and implementing winning business strategies capable of mitigating risk.

The important return of a large number of Asian exhibitors (over 250 companies from Mainland China alone) and the increasingly diverse international offering (as many as 42 countries, including the débuts of Switzerland, Japan, Nepal, the Czech Republic and Mexico) make the 99th edition of Riva del Garda the most important appointment yet for sourcing footwear, bags and accessories.

All of which is backed up by the figures: close to 9,000 admissions, up 12.5% compared to June 2022. A rise in attendance that rewarded the participation of almost 1,300 exhibitors, companies and brands from 42 countries.

The visitor make-up confirms a trend already observed at recent events: 80% were from Europe, 20% from outside Europe.

Also noteworthy is the significant increase in buyers from Spain (+35%), as well as from Germany (+9%). On the other hand, there was a 7% decline in Italian buyers, offset by the broad participation of other markets (a total of 103 countries took part in the fair).

Not to be overlooked was the participation recorded on the fair’s digital platform, which led to meetings between some 10,000 industry professionals.

“Numbers that pleasantly impress us,” says Alessandra Albarelli, Director of Riva del Garda Fierecongressi.  “In a European market where some of the most important countries are currently stagnant, the increased attendance rate is an excellent sign rewarding Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags’ decision to also focus on other markets, such as those of Latin America, Africa, the United States and South East Asia.”

An undeniably successful edition, with exhibitors reporting an increase not only in the number of buyers but also in their quality. An event distinguished not only by important trade exchanges but also a variety of initiatives (no fewer than 26 events involving 31 internationally renowned speakers and several foreign delegations) aimed at facilitating the work of buyers and producers.

The Summit dedicated to further exploring the encounter between supply and demand and assessing post-pandemic challenges and opportunities, including new consumer trends and emerging supply chains, allowed footwear industry leaders to hold a valuable discussion on the future of sourcing, bringing together Asian manufacturers’ associations and international retailers’ and buyers’ associations. The event was held in Europe for the first time in collaboration with CIFA – Confederation of International Footwear Association – to discuss the difficulties and prospects of the post-pandemic market.

There could be no better viaticum in preparation for the must-attend 100th edition, in which the Riva del Garda event will celebrate more than 50 years of working with the most important industry players.

“We look forward to welcoming exhibitors and buyers in 2024 and celebrating our 100th edition together,” announced GianPaola Pedretti, Exhibition Manager of Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags. “The celebrations will be distributed throughout the entire Riva del Garda area and spread over time since they will involve both the winter and summer editions.”

Following are the must-save dates for next year: 13-16 January 2024 and 15-18 June 2024.