Showcase 2020 delivers sales growth despite decline in buyers attending from the UK versus 2019

Posted 13.02.20

SHOWCASE, Ireland’s Creative Expo® 2020 delivers sales growth despite a significant decline in buyers attending from the UK versus 2019

Image: Model Audrey Ryan wearing coat by The Dualist and silk blouse with trousers by Reuben Avenue at Showcase - Ireland's Creative Expo® at the RDS, Dublin.

  • Sales grew by 4.6% to €26.3M over the four-day trade-only event
  • Other export markets deliver growth in attendance and orders

RDS, Dublin: Showcase, Ireland’s Creative Expo®, which took place 19 – 22 January, saw sales orders increase by 4.6% to €26.3M. Buyers from 27 countries attended, with marked increases from Germany (+17%), Japan (+23%), Canada (+22%) and Italy (+20%) resulting in total visitor attendance of 4,302 or -2.8% on 2019. The increase in sales at the show is a testament to how strong the demand was from non-UK markets and was achieved despite a 31% decline in buyers attending from Great Britain and Northern Ireland, driven by Brexit uncertainty.

Founded in 1977, Showcase is presented by Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI), with support from Enterprise Ireland in promoting the trade show internationally, and the Local Enterprise Offices nationwide.

Chair of Showcase, and DCCI board member, Eddie Shanahan said: “Showcase has again delivered a significant platform for Irish designers and makers to engage and convert Irish and international buyers seeking quality, sustainability and a competitive point of difference. I am particularly pleased that our emphasis on new product development and extended market development has delivered important results at such a disruptive time in the marketplace.”

Over 400 creative brands, including more than 50 who exhibited at Showcase for the first time, presented their very latest collections across fashion, jewellery, and home & giftware.  The annual fair provides exhibitors who are keen to diversify or extend their market presence internationally with a unique opportunity to connect with buyers from around the world and secure orders. 

Showcase has become the place to find unique designs that you can’t find anywhere else, it’s amazing, exciting and completely original,” says Doris Barsukan, Director of US retailer MacKimmie & Co in the USA. “I found and bought so many fabulous new brands and products this year at the show for our store.”

Sustainability and circularity were strong themes at Showcase 2020. Retailers are responding to the change in consumer sentiment to buy products which are consciously made with respect to the environment and the people that produce them.

Carlow-based Ballyshane received a Highly Commended Award at Showcase 2020. Their commitment to sustainable production using only Irish timber impressed buyers at Showcase this year and the brand has acquired 15 new buyers from Irish and US markets. “Each Ballyshane board comes with a card stating where the tree came from and what type of wood is used to make the board. I handpick the logs for all our products myself and I will only buy timber that is dead, dying or falling over,” explains William McHutcheon, co-founder of Ballyshane.

Through its network of 40 overseas offices, Enterprise Ireland’s international teams promote Showcase to buyers world-wide. Stephen Hughes, Department Manager Consumer Retail, Enterprise Ireland, said: “This has been yet another successful year for Showcase and Enterprise Ireland was delighted to host over 1,000 international buyers and media from 27 countries across the globe for this year’s event. Irish companies with global ambition are clearly hitting the mark with overseas buyers and the increase in sales at Showcase 2020 reflects the growth in demand for unique, quality Irish products which are renowned for their innovation, creativity and design.”

The Local Enterprise Showcase, which once again fully occupied the balcony of the Main Hall at the RDS, featured emerging Irish businesses supported by Local Enterprise Offices across the country. Kieran Comerford of the Local Enterprise Offices said: “Meeting international buyers from countries like Germany, Japan and Canada, is a game-changer for many of the entrepreneurs who made their debut at the Local Enterprise Showcase in 2020. The Local Enterprise Offices support designers and makers on a year-round basis, helping them make the most from these sales opportunities at Showcase, which is the most important creative expo of the year.

Key features at Showcase 2020 included:

  • , a new inspirational short film that premiered at Showcase to create awareness and appreciation of Irish-made textiles, accessories and apparel and featured the work of 22 Irish brands. Directed by internationally celebrated Irish photographer, Boo George, in collaboration with renowned fashion director Paula Hughes, the film was commissioned and produced by DCCI and is the second in a planned trilogy of films on Irish textiles. The films can be viewed at www.showcaseireland.com/why-visit/films/.
  • Specially curated displays of the Best Product Award winners along with an edited selection of the most interesting and innovative products at Showcase, designed to make sourcing easier for busy attendees. The Overall Winner of the Showcase Best Product Award was Studio Donegal its shirt jacket. Their woollen mill, situated in the village of Kilcar in the heart of Donegal, maintains the tradition of handweaving, spinning and garment making.
  • Design Ireland®, presented by Design & Crafts Council Ireland, located at the heart of the Main Hall and featuring 67 leading makers selected by a jury of international retail experts for their creativity, innovation, craftsmanship and market potential.
  • The Local Enterprise Showcase which presented unique products from 88 businesses supported by 29 Local Enterprise Offices across the country.
  • An exquisite selection of Irish made homewares including furniture, pottery & ceramics, candles and home textiles.

Planning is already underway for Showcase 2021 which will take place at the RDS from Sunday, 24 to Wednesday, 27 January 2021. For further details on this event, which is for trade attendance only, please visit showcaseireland.com.

-ENDS-

For further press information, please contact:

Astrid Brennan, FleishmanHillard, astrid.brennan@fleishmaneurope.com M: 086 215 4883
Michelle Lynch, FleishmanHillard, michelle.lynch@fleishmaneurope.com M: 087 968 9016

Notes to Editors

About Showcase
Showcase – Ireland’s Creative Expo® is one of the country’s largest international trade shows.  The annual event attracts the buying teams from over 2,760 retailers from across the world, including Ireland, the UK, USA, Mainland Europe and the Far East, generating sales orders of €25 million during the four days of the show. Showcase is presented on behalf of Design & Crafts Council Ireland, with support from Enterprise Ireland in promoting the trade show internationally through their network of offices overseas, and the Local Enterprise Offices nationwide. More than 400 Irish brands are exhibited at the fair, including emerging Irish businesses supported by their Local Enterprise Offices. Showcase is for trade attendance only. showcaseireland.com

About Design & Crafts Council Ireland
Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) is the national agency for the commercial development of Irish designers and makers, stimulating innovation, championing design thinking and informing Government policy. DCCI's activities are funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland. DCCI currently has 59 member organisations and over 3,000 registered clients. dcci.ie

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