Show report: Hardware + Tools Middle East 2016

Dubai has generated plenty of press interest in recent years, not least for its luxury reputation, being a hotbed of construction and hosting eyepopping
architecture like the Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world – that Tom Cruise famously dangled off for Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

Long before the world’s best known movie star took the nerve-wracking climb up the aforementioned tower, Dubai played host to the Hardware and Tools Show. In fact the show has been running for an impressive 17 years in the United Arab Emirates city.

This year the show was opened by His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, the Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority.

Aiming to attract manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, importers and exporters, agencies, engineers and more, the size of the show has
robustly remained relatively consistent over the last three or four years, the organisers tell Torque Magazine.

This year 2,907 visitors headed to the three-day trade show, held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. They flew in from 67 countries although perhaps surprisingly there were not many UK visitors there – in fact the show largely focuses on Middle East and African attendees.


In terms of exhibitors, 184 took space at the show from 11 countries. So what kind of exhibitor is it that takes part in the Hardware and Tools Show?
Those that are trying to break into the region? Speaking to torque Magazine, Messe Frankfurt CEO Ahmed Pauwels says: “It’s a mixture of both. Many exhibitors already have a presence in the region, but they’re often looking for new distributors for other countries, while others are also seeking new distributors targeting specific sectors, such as aviation, automotive, etc. Then you have those that are entirely new and just entering the market, scoping it out, and seeing what the opportunities are. Many also convey a keen interest in the African market.”

It’s not hard to see why exhibitors might have an interest in the region. According to Dubai Customs, Dubai’s trade for hard- ware and tools was valued at AED5.74 billion in 2015, or approximately £1.18 billion, surely enough to make any hardware tool or machinery firm think twice about the trade hub. Still not sure? The Emirate imported AED3.87 billion of hardware and tools last year, with exports and re-exports into neighbouring countries valued at AED 1.6billion.

While impressive, our sources indicate that those numbers will be slightly down year-on-year compared to 2014 thanks to reducing oil prices and the effect that had on peripheral industries. That didn’t appear to dampen the mood at the show, which was reportedly positive thanks to steady demand in the construction and infrastructure sectors, as well as DIY.

The USA is Dubai’s number one trading partner, taking up the lion’s share of Dubai’s hardware and tools trade (AED878 million), followed by China
(AED746m), Italy (AED482m), Germany (AED346m) and then Saudi Arabia (AED248m).

Rock drilling or earth boring interchangeable hand tools for the construction sector represented the biggest contributor to those totals, valued at an eye-watering AED1.05billion, or a 20% share of the total value. Other high-trading categories included mountings, fittings and similar articles suitable for buildings (AED397m), automatic door closers (AED315m) and non-household hand tools (AED261m).

Typically, the Dubai show is not resting on its laurels and is keenly seeking ways to make it an even more essential date for the industry. Pauwels explains: “We’re looking at new ways to give some added value to the show – in the form of more engaging and interactive events during the
three days such as competitions and live demonstrations, and so on.”

The dates for the next show have not yet been pinned down, but the show organisers tell Torque Magazine that it will be the end of May 2017. For more details head to the official site:

While there wasn’t much in the way of UK firms over at the Dubai-set Hardware + Tools Middle East Exhibition, other countries flew over some prominent names. The USA, Dubai’s number one hardware and tool trading partner, brought plier firm Channellock, FiberFix and adjustable barrel bolt lock firm Adjustco to the expo.

FiberFix produces a repair tape product that is 100 times stronger than duct tape and – when cured – is reportedly as hard as steel. FiberFix played with the weave patterns of tape, using different material and resins, to produce something that is – they said – water tight, impact and heat
resistant and strong enough to hold 3,000 pounds of weight.

Screw manufacturer Vipa and hose firm Tecnotubi Picena were among the Italian exhibitors at Hardware + Tools Middle East. Germany’s exhibitor line-up included household names like Bosch, professional pliar supplier Knipex and professional tool manufacturer Wiha.

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