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Fairs: Sustained Growth for Eastern Markets

Wall element by Pimar.(November 2009) This year’s Marmomacc once again demonstrated that the big stone producers and processors are at home in the East: while the Verona fair, held from September 30th to October 3rd, saw a considerable decline in attendance (minus 16 %) by preliminary estimates, a glance at statistics (see below) shows than the Xiamen Stone Fair is enjoying sustained growth and the Marble in Izmir was at least able to hold its figures of the previous year.

The trend is underscored by exhibitors as well: while Xiamen experienced considerable growth despite the world wide financial crisis, and while Izmir also saw some growth, Verona was stagnant.

But these figures are only one aspect. Also, the Marmomacc took place from Wednesday to Saturday this year. In previous years the fair was from Thursday to Sunday. The change was decided to discourage the multitudes of non-commercial Sunday-visitors.

Marmomacc is not likely to lose its position as the leading fair any time soon: this year, as in previous years, Marmomacc was the big marketplace for new products in the stone branch. This is not only true for machinery, where Italy is the uncontested market leader. But also the efforts in stone design and the various events give the branch important impetus from year to year.

Here the competition is lagging far behind: but, Xiamen intends to expand its congress held during the fair next year. Ecology and marketing issues will be the main themes. Izmir, too, has shown interest in holding a congress. But the new fair grounds seem to be making little progress toward completion.

The statistical yearbook was introduced by Dr. Carlo Montani this year again. It carries the title „Stone 2009“ and includes the figures for 2008. It, too, shows a shift toward Asia, as growth (albeit small) was recorded, whereby the rest of the world was facing recession.

Interestingly, Montani’s numbers show a slight increase in pro-capita consumption in 2008 world-wide: 187 m² per 1000 person (2007: 184 m²; 2003: 135 m²). The fact that companies were discharging employees or closing down branches indicates that surplus capacities of the two previous boom decades were being reduced. For the first half of 2009 the figures show that the branch is truly struggling.

A few more figures from Montani’s yearbook: China alone retrieved 26.2 % of world production from its quarries and carried away one quarter of world exports.

Regarding imports, China is the market for stone blocks, which are worked and then sold again as an end-product. The price for end-products in China is 13.75 € compared to Italy: 43.80 €, Brazil: 30.90 €, Spain: 30.60 €. The Land of the Rising Sun plays a major role only with respect to commodities i.e. average stone varieties.

„Stone 2009. World Marketing Handbook“, Carlo Montani, Edizioni Il Sole 24 Ore Business Media, ISBN 978-88-8138-124-1, Code N. 10330, 32,00 €.

The organizers of „Le Donne del Marmo“ („The Women in Marble“) awarded this year’s prize to Dr. Paola Blasi if the IMM Carrara for her work in introducing CE-Standards in the European Union. The organization (Italian) wants to distinguish the role of women in the branch. It was founded in 2006.

Next Marmomacc: September 29th to October 2nd, 2010.