AFAG Messen und Ausstellungen GmbH will manage the next edition, but the date has not yet been published
NürnbergMesse will not continue to organize Stone+tec. In the future, the German trade fair all about natural stone, stone processing and gravestones will be organized by AFAG Messen und Ausstellungen GmbH. However, the venue will continue to be the modern exhibition fairground in Nuremberg, according to a press release.
AFAG is only a small player compared to NürnbergMesse, but has been very successful in its class in Germany. “AFAG Messen und Ausstellungen GmbH has been operating out of Nuremberg since 1947, and from Augsburg since 1991. To date, AFAG has staged almost 800 trade fair events for a wide range of industries and subject areas. Its portfolio currently comprises 20 events, including both international trade fairs and nationwide exhibitions for the public. AFAG is also responsible for organizing special-interest fairs, congresses, events and shows,“ as said in the press release.
This marks a break in the long tradition of Stone+tec, which in the end had probably simply become too small for NürnbergMesse. Integrating it into the very successful GaLaBau, which was occasionally discussed, was probably not feasible: Stone+tec’s important gravestone section might perish within this big fair for gardening; moreover, GaLaBau is held annually.
Stone+tec had taken place for the first time in 1979 and for some decades had reached an international rank comparable to Marmotec in Carrara, like the latter also with a 2-year rhythm. Since then, it has lost importance for different reasons:
* a handful of wholesalers in Germany has managed to attract many stonemasons as customers. Consequently, it makes no longer sense for the previous suppliers – especially from Italy – to come to Nuremberg to present their stones to the stonemasons;
* at the same time, many manufacturers of machines, tools and accessories have developed the idea of in-house exhibitions. The Internet has made it easy to address the target group directly with mailings;
* large natural stone companies from Germany no longer find their target group at Stone+tec because in Germany, as elsewhere, they are quarry owners, installers and also dealers for foreign stone types at the same time. For such companies, architecture or design fairs are more interesting, and this is an unsolved problem of all stone fairs worldwide.
NürnbergMesse had always emphasized that it did not want to give up the Stone+tec brand. In 2013, a reorientation had been attempted, away from international business to a focus on stonemasons in the German-speaking countries Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (D-A-CH).
At the last show in 2018, it seemed as if this target group had learned to appreciate Stone+tec again as a family reunion of the stone sector and as a pool for ideas and suggestions.
Is there even room for a Stone+tec?
Presumably, the natural stone sector in the D-A-CH countries is big enough. Germany alone is one of the world’s mega-consumers: in the last few decades, natural stone goods worth around €600 million were sold in the country every year, according to figures from the German Natural Stone Association (DNV). Above all, these were finished products.
In addition to this is the turnover from machines, tools, etc.
But perhaps mono-material fairs only have a chance if they directly approach the end-users, i.e. private builders, property owners or facility management companies. After all, in Germany as worldwide, during and because of Covid-19, there was a strong increase in demand for natural stone from private consumers for construction projects in which homes and gardens were embellished.
Figures and data Stone+tec 2018 (German)
(30.06.2021, USA: 06.30.2021)