The hookah exhibition in Frankfurt did not become the centre of attraction for the e-cigarette business.
The VaporFair exhibition took place in the Frankfurt Exhibition Centre on 15-17 April 2016. Three years ago an event called HookahFair took place here for the first time for manufacturers, suppliers, and users of the water pipe as well as for catering facilities where all this meets and generates income. Water pipe smoking was then quickly gaining momentum in Europe in general and Germany in particular, so the launch of the trade fair became a reaction to growing demand. Like the fashion for bushy black beards on young faces, this became a consequence of the Islamisation of the continent which neither laws nor fences can stop. It was a successful event: for hundreds of metres from the entrance stretched a line of teenagers wishing to get a free package of water-pipe tobacco or just have a good time with friends smoking a free hookah which is the more common name for the water pipe here.
A parallel event for electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) was added to the hookah exhibition in the next year, 2014. This was also a successful and opportune move. Dozens of ENDS exhibitions a year were already taking place in the US then, while Europe only had InterTabac in Dortmund, historically dedicated very much to tobacco (cigars and pipes), where suppliers of e-cigarettes, e-liquids, and corresponding gadgets began to appear too. However, it is fundamentally important for the ENDS industry to contrast itself with tobacco, so a separate event had to appear in Europe. The first time about fifty companies, including many European ENDS market leaders, gave generous advances to the event and the exhibition, though not really large, was quite representative in terms of exhibitors.
However, it proved impossible to consolidate the success of the first show. The exhibition did not develop in terms of support for the ENDS sector, did not arrange attendant events such as a cloud competition or at least some workshop (while activity at the hookah event was on the rise). So in this, third, year VaporFair was already quite a miserable sight. No major player, even from the European ENDS market, exhibited. One can only mention Germany’s ShishaToGo which seems to take part in all, even the smallest, events and the promising Croatian supplier of e-liquids, Elda. The other exhibitors were mostly minor companies from all over the world, mixing their own liquids in semi-cottage-industry conditions or importing them from China under their own brands.
Suppliers of materials to the ENDS industry looked especially disappointed. Clearly, they had expected something different. Some companies presented packaging for e-liquids: a variety of plastic bottles of all sizes and colours, as well as numerous solutions for childproof corking of these bottles which are necessary in the EU under the new Tobacco Products Directive effective since 20 May this year.
Meanwhile, the hookah half was literally bubbling. A competition called Hookah Battle was held there, though a guest not speaking German would have difficulty understanding the competitive aspect of the showy and noisy event with a big stage and designer furniture for the participants. Exhibitors in the water-pipe quarters mostly set up large or huge stands. Obviously enough, there is money in the sector and even though the brands have not yet become famous, this is already an established and serious business in Germany. Millions of new “Europeans” will not be left without their traditional entertainment in Germany.
Thus the event could hardly be recommended to ENDS market players from suppliers of packaging and ingredients to retailers. On the contrary, it is a good place for water-pipe business professionals.