Posted by Rachel Westall on 8 February 2024
The UK trade show for the festive trade sector experienced a significant increase in both exhibitor and visitor numbers for the 2024 show, attracting buyers from across Europe.
Harrogate Christmas & Gift has enjoyed year-on-year growth for more than 10 years, but the 2024 show, which took place from 14th to 17th January at the Harrogate Convention Centre, exceeded all expectations with a further increase in visitor numbers of over 11 per cent compared with last year. Now a firm favourite particularly with garden centre and visitor attraction buyers; the event is not only the first port of call for UK visitors, but is also attracting buyers from overseas too with a notable increase from Ireland, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Iceland and as far afield as the USA. From conversations at the show, it appears that Harrogate Christmas & Gift is overtaking popularity with similar European trade events, with buyers siting the quality and diversity of products on display and the welcoming atmosphere as key attractions.
This year, Harrogate was completely sold out, even with an additional hall added to the exhibition making eight halls of the Harrogate Convention Centre in total. A noteworthy newcomer to the show was Irish company Jingles, which took over half of hall Q offering visitors 2200 sqm of Christmas products including decorations, trees and lights. As well as all of the returning favourites such as Premier Decorations, Festive Productions, Heaven Sends, Snowtime, Kaemingk, Gisela Graham, Konstmide and Smart Garden Products (to name just a few); there were also 40 companies exhibiting for the first time and new to the show including Snowlodge situated in the Queens Suite.
Simon Anslow, show organiser, comments: "Harrogate Christmas & Gift has grown in popularity for many years, but this has accelerated in 2024. Demand for exhibition space was at an all time high and even after the show was sold out we were receiving enquiries from potential exhibitors. A large number of visitors are garden centre buyers and because of this and the diversity of products available in the garden centre setting, exhibitors are joining us from all walks of life including pet products, food and drink, greetings cards and general houseware and gifts."
One such newcomer was Zinc Home which specialises in developing and distributing exclusive gift items, decorative pieces and home accessories for retailers including garden centres. Claire Bell of Zinc Home commented: "We have had a super first time exhibiting at the Show. We have welcomed lots of our existing customers and are very excited about our new contacts. Lots of appointments made and good new connections for our brand. We're delighted with the quality of the buyers and considering the ranges we presented are not for Christmas, we have exceeded our expectations."
Santa's Gin, whilst festively themed, is also something a little bit different for the show and Tim Lewis of the company explained: "Gin has increased in popularity hugely in recent years and we've come up with some great festive flavours. This includes strawberry and vanilla and Christmas cookie – and of course our original with hints of juniper, pine, vanilla, orange, cranberries and some Christmas magic too. We've received lots of orders at the show from licensed garden centres in particular."
Next year Harrogate Christmas & Gift takes place from Sunday 12th to Wednesday 15th January 2025. Priority booking will open in March when existing exhibitors will be offered the opportunity to rebook their space or request a new one. After this date, space will go onto general sale.
Full details are on the website at www.harrogatefair.com