Went to the NEC over the weekend for the Hobbycrafts show, which is always a highlight of my year but, I must admit that, this year, I was a bit disappointed with what I saw.
As anyone who has visited the show will know, the stands are set out in rows with an aisle down the centre and each stand has a letter and number code. When I have been to previous shows, there have been enough stands to have them coded up to the letter 'j', yesterday the letters only went up to 'g' and that was only from about G1 to G3. Considering there are an average of 48 stands in each aisle, there were around 150 less stands than at previous shows. We had managed to walk round every stand writing down what we wanted to look at again by around 11.30am, when it would usually be closer to 1pm. It was, however, also very obvious that less people were visiting too- lots of stands had plenty of stock left towards the end of the day and there wasn't the usual squash to actually look at some stands (although the amount of people with motorized scooters or pushchairs(!) did still manage to make looking at some things difficult).
Lot's of big name brands were not there such as create & craft and polka doodles. It is obviously an expensive time for the retailer as I'm sure a stand is not cheap and the internet makes it possible for people to get the products without leaving home, but I hope this is not a sign of things to come as I much prefer being able to see a product in the flesh before I buy it.
That said, there were a small number of exciting new products to be had which I will post about in more detail later- nowhere near as many as in other years though- I actually came home with some money left for once!