50 Years of EuroShop – a Global Career made in Düsseldorf

The year the Yellow Submarine emerged for the first time and a goal at Wembley caused a stir history was also written in Düsseldorf because 11 to 15 June 1966 saw the first EuroShop being held in Düsseldorf. Back then nobody knew that it would become the leading trade fair for the global retail world.

Today, EuroShop looks back on a 50-year history of success. It is an innovation platform, trendsetter, discussion forum and a creative hub bursting with new ideas specifically for retail. It is with great anticipation that the international retail world looks to the 19th EuroShop held from 5 to 9 March 2017. Next year Messe Düsseldorf expects to the tune of 2,500 exhibitors from over 50 countries, who will cover the complete investment needs for the global retail sector. Due to the high demand for exhibition space EuroShop will add an additional hall so that a total of 17 exhibition halls will be occupied.

But EuroShop also started small: in 1966 a total of 331 exhibiting companies took part and only 55 of these came from abroad. The exhibition space totalled 17,193 m² net and 28,762 trade visitors marvelled at such displays as the “modern drugstore”, “Frozen Goods the Merchandise of the Future”, or “Selling Textiles Up to Date”.

The impetus for establishing EuroShop was provided by a massive change in the retail landscape. By the mid-60s self-service concepts had completed their experimental stages in Europe and initially asserted themselves in food retail. The small corner shops disappeared and the Albrecht brothers launched their revolutionary discount principle. In-store design, open-access shelving, aisles and special-bargain displays took the place of drawers, boxes and glass showcases. This was unchartered territory for both retailers and shoppers alike. So far, it had been customary for shoppers to have to wait at the counter until it was their turn and the sales assistant personally picked, portioned and weighed the produce. But all of a sudden an open goods display and shop windows gained tremendous importance.

In 1965 Messe Düsseldorf therefore decided together with the EHI Retail Institute, back then still called “Institut für Selbstbedienung” (Self-Service Institute), to launch a new trade fair specifically for retail: EuroShop – The European Exhibition and Congress “Moderne Läden und Schaufenster” (Modern Stores and Shop Windows).

The new trade fair was initially viewed with suspicion by retailers when it debuted in 1966; newspapers reported back then that nine associations were against and only four associations in favour of the new trade fair.

But at the next EuroShop in 1968 criticism had already ebbed and the press rejoiced “The 2nd European shop fitting trade fair EuroShop has achieved international standing”. And carried on: “The uniformity of the stand designs […] has given way to the courage to try something new to an extent that even experts had not expected to find.”

From 1966 to 1972 EuroShop was held every 2 years until it changed over to a 3-year cycle from 1975 due to the medium-term nature of innovations in store design. In the mid-70s the initial logo depicting a shop and a window was succeeded by the two-tone EuroShop star, which still serves as a hallmark for it today. While this initially symbolised the totals symbol on tills, it is also synonymous today with the matchmaking between supply and demand in all the capital goods segments of retail, which were gradually added to the EuroShop product portfolio. Whereas in the 60s the range consisted mainly of shop fittings, shop window dressing, refrigeration units and check-out systems, EuroShop already boasted a huge range in the late 90s, comprising advertising, lighting, exhibition stand construction, IT, MIS and EAS, article surveillance and supply chain management.

From 2002 EuroShop adopted a new structure to ensure a coherent and plausible segmentation and presentation of exhibitors’ ever more comprehensive ranges.  EuroConcept, EuroSales EuroExpo, EuroCIS successfully described the four independent, mutually complementary subdivisions of EuroShop until 2014.

A key component in the concept of EuroShop was and still is its programme of accompanying events. Specials such as the Designer Village and the Lighting Designer’s Zone, the Architecture & Design Forum, the EuroCIS Forum or the Omnichannel Forum as well as the renowned EuroShop Retail Design Award (ERDA) or the retail technology awards europe (reta) are highlights at EuroShop.

2017 will become another milestone for the development of this leading global event because the previous subdivision into four segments will in 2017 give way to a sophisticated system for the future, which is broken down into seven experience dimensions: POP Marketing, Expo & Event Marketing, Retail Technology, Lighting, Visual Merchandising, Shop Fitting & Store Design and Food Tech & Energy Management. This system means EuroShop can provide a more flexible framework and plenty of scope for presenting forward-looking developments and innovative products for global retail.

Outlining the 50 years of EuroShop history, it should not be forgotten that it was also very successful in “founding a family of events”. As early as in 1997 the first EuroCIS – back then still known by the name of “Retail Technology Forum” – was “born” as a EuroShop offshoot. Nobody would have thought back then that the congress with exhibition would one day become the leading retail technology trade fair in Europe. But the development was positive from the outset, and renaming the Forum EuroCIS  and the change to an annual cycle in 2006 were important milestones in the meteoric rise of the event where currently 411 IT specialists from 29 countries are presented to some 10,500 trade visitors.

The second, still young EuroShop offshoot, which took off to a brilliant start, is C-star, Shanghai’s International Trade Fair for Solutions and Trends all about Retail.

At its second edition in May 2016 the annual trade fair with 180 exhibitors from 18 countries and over 7,600 trade visitors from 77 nations again proved a preferred “port of call” for the top decision-makers in the Chinese retail scene – both as a basis for business and as the knowledge platform of choice.

With its 50 years EuroShop is by no means in a midlife crisis, quite the contrary: it is an experienced, cosmopolitan “grand dame” with a family of offspring, who succeeds in rejuvenating itself and thrilling the world time and again.

You can request photos from 50 years of EuroShop history by e-mail from Mrs Tanja Karl at [email protected]

Your Press Contact:
Dr. Cornelia Jokisch, Tanja Karl (Assistant)
Tel.: +49 (0)211/4560-998/-999, Fax: +49 (0)211/4560-8548
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

June 2016