Home » Gallery » Behind the Scenes at Chinese Hardware Stores

Behind the Scenes at Chinese Hardware Stores

As exhibitors began to tear down their booths and attendees returned home via bus, subway, train or plane, the China International Hardware Show 2015 (CIHS 2015) came to a close.

The event, sponsored by the China National Hardware Association, Koelnmesse and other show organizers, ran Oct. 21-23 in Shanghai, China and brought hardware and kitchen and bath exhibitors together from countries all over the world. CIHS 2015 co-located with the China International Kitchen and Bathroom Expo (CIKB 2015) and filled five exhibition halls, totaling 1.6 million square feet at the National Exhibition & Convention Center.

Attendees of the show were able to experience a wide range of products all in one central location. A variety of events and programs were offered to attendees as well, such as overseas trade seminars, match and greet programs between buyers and exhibitors along with a tour of area hardware stores.

Robots were out in full force at the Show, with a specific Robot Display/Area. One vendor even had industrial robots synchronize their movements to music. Hardware Retailing also identified some other trends prevalent at the Show that can be found here.

On Friday afternoon in Shanghai, the North American Retail Hardware Association’s market research analyst, Sara Logel, and national sales manager, Lowell Huffman, joined other show attendees on a tour of hardware markets and stores across Shanghai.

Since the buildings and cities are all bigger in China, these hardware stores were no different. The first market of the tour had 8,000 different stores across many different streets. The stores ranged in size but an average vendor had between 200 to 400 square feet of space. The space these vendors were allocated was located in a large building, so competitors were literally set up side by side. It was reminiscent of an open-air food market, but for hardware stores. Vendors sold products ranging from power tools and builders’ hardware to sheets of stainless steel. To better understand the layout and atmosphere of these markets, please view the gallery below.

“The tour was a unique way to see how retail and wholesale is conducted in China,” Huffman says. “It helped me draw some comparisons and parallels between U.S. and China hardware markets, and, in many ways, showed me how sophisticated the U.S. retail structure is in the form of inventory management, store size, employee training, customer service, etc.”

The different stores at these markets had 2-5 employees depending upon the size, had little signage, no store branding and were packed with inventory, many with no price tags on the products.

“It was a very unique experience and was completely different from what I expected,” Logel says. “I really enjoyed looking at the different products that we don’t see in the states and comparing the vendors’ prices to those at home.”

Friday was the final day of the show as vendors tour down their booths mid-afternoon, marking the end to another successful show.

About Sara Logel

As NRHA’s market research analyst, Sara conducts organic research and stays abreast of industry trends to help hardware retailers better run their business. Sara also contributes to editorial content in Hardware Retailing magazine. Sara received her B.S. in Marketing and Spanish from Butler University and, after graduation, began her career with NRHA. Sara enjoys traveling, being outdoors and exploring the city of Indianapolis.

Check Also

Sherwin-Williams 2023 Color of the Year

Sherwin-Williams Unveils 2023 Color of the Year

Sherwin-Williams has announced Redend Point (SW 9081) as its 2023 Color of the Year. A …