Dubai, UAE: Dubai’s bustling US$1.5 billion dollar trade for hardware and tools in 2015 has been reinforced by the strong industry turnout at the 17th edition of Hardware+Tools Middle East, which concluded yesterday (25th May).
A total of 2,907 trade buyers and construction industry professionals from 67 countries attended Hardware+Tools Middle East 2016, as they sourced the latest solutions for their businesses from 184 exhibitors.
The wider region’s dedicated trade show for hardware, tools, machinery and materials was busy throughout its three-day run at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, as exhibitors and visitors alike expressed a positive market outlook on the back of steady demand in the construction and infrastructure sectors, along with home DIY.
Their enthusiasm comes as Dubai Customs released figures during the annual event showing that Dubai’s thriving import, export, and re-export market for hardware and tools was valued at US$1.56 billion in 2015.
The USA was Dubai’s top trading partner for the year, with US$239 million worth of trade, followed by China (US$203 million), Italy (US$131 million), Germany (US$94 million), and Saudi Arabia (US$67 million).
Manufacturers from these countries were also prominent at Hardware+Tools Middle East 2016, including American companies Channellock, FiberFix, and Ajustco; Italian brands Vipa and Tecnotubi Picena; and German manufacturers Bosch, Knipex, and Wiha.
Indraneel Bhattacharya, National Sales Manager of Power Tools at Central Motors & Equipment, the UAE’s licensed distributor for Bosch, said the company had achieved double-digit growth in sales revenue in the last 12 months.
“We’re 15 per cent up year-on-year in volume of business so we’re managing strong growth,” said Bhattacharya, who was showcasing the entire Bosch portfolio primarily for the construction sector, including hammer drills, measuring equipment, metal working tools such as cutters, and grinders, along with wood working tools.
“We’re quite optimistic about the market, in particular with the Dubai Expo 2020 still coming up. Starting from 2017, the whole construction and infrastructure development sector will surge ahead and that’s where we look for big growth in particular. We see huge potential.
“The best part about what has happened lately is that people are demanding more and more quality products because if you have the right tool for the right job, your productivity goes up,” added Bhattacharya. “People realise that it’s an investment and this mind-shift has been taking place over the last 3-4 years.”
Knipex was another German exhibitor at Hardware+Tools Middle East 2016 showcasing its range of professionals pliers, including end cutters, diagonal cutters, combination pliers, water pump pliers, cable cutting, stripping and crimping pliers.
Manuel Pawlak, the Senior Business Development for Knipex Tools Middle East, said the company is keen to find new distribution channels to keep its regional footprint on a steep growth path.
“We are very strong in construction, but we feel it’s important to go into other industries such as automotive, aviation, and electrical to make sure that our business continues to grow,” said Pawlak.
“The Middle East caters to around 10 per cent of our export business and we’re working on increasing that share. We’re growing at a much higher rate here than Europe, where business is increasing maybe 1-2 per cent a year.”
Added Pawlak: “It’s important for us to be at Hardware+Tools Middle East, because it’s the only dedicated hardware and tools show in the region. We’ve participated in other big shows in the past where we may get more visitors to our stand but they might not be what we’re looking for. The good thing about this show is that we might only get 100 leads, but they’re more likely to be what we’re after.”
Among the prominent product launches at Hardware+Tools Middle East 2016 was FiberFix from the USA, a repair tape that’s 100 times stronger than duct tape, and can fix any broken rigid object, from chairs, pipes, ladders, hammers and shovels, to tennis rackets and car mufflers.
Eric Childs, the Principal of FiberFix, said the technology behind the super strong tape – which is as hard as steel once cured – is derived from the medical casting tape used to set broken bones.
“We reengineered the technology, changed the weave patterns of the tape, used different materials and resins, and came up with something that’s both water tight, impact and heat resistant, and incredibly strong that can hold 3,000 pounds of weight,” said Childs.
“We’re at Hardware+Tools Middle East 2016 to launch FiberFix and put it on the regional map, as we think this is the right show to search for distributors throughout the wider region. We sell FiberFix primarily through retail but we also sell through other channels in the USA that supplies the industrial sectors, so it’s not just for home DIY. There are lot of industrial applications for it,” added Childs.
With country pavilions from China, Taiwan, and Thailand, Hardware+Tools Middle East 2016 proved a vital sourcing platform for distributors, contractors, engineers, facilities managers, and traders from throughout the wider region.
Ahmed Al-Obaidi, Managing Director at Shine Future Trading in Iraq, was among the satisfied visitors: “We are a trading company for tools, generators and electrical products,” said Al-Obaidi. “We come to Hardware+Tools Middle East every year to look for cost-effective products.”
Yousuf Farhan, a purchasing manager for a building material supplier in the UAE, added: “I come to Hardware+Tools Middle East every year to look for new suppliers and meet our existing ones as well. It’s a good show and we’ve seen a potential supplier that we might do business with in the future.”
Hardware+Tools Middle East 2016 showcased more than 250 brands from 11 countries, and included an Expert Zone, a dedicated area showcasing the latest innovative solutions shaping the future of tools used for all types of industries, from construction and oil & gas, to outdoor landscaping and DIY solutions.
Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of organiser Messe Frankfurt Middle East, said: “Hardware+Tools Middle East is a critical platform where manufacturers can get deeper into this fast-growing regional market, while offering buyers an insight into the latest technical innovations that can help them boost their business productivity in any industry, whether construction, utilities, aviation, or automotive.”