Status: 06.07.2022 08:11
The International Craft Fair starts today in Munich, for the first time since 2019. The big issues here are delivery bottlenecks and rising prices. Inflation and lack of materials give craftsmen a hard time.
The craft actually really wanted to restart after two years of the corona pandemic. But nothing will come of it for now. The war in Ukraine is putting a strain on businesses in the form of disrupted supply chains and a shortage of materials, says Holger Schwannecke, general secretary of the German Confederation of Crafts. Steel and bitumen no longer come from Ukraine in the usual way, causing delays on construction sites. Oils and seeds are also rare and expensive. And that affects bakeries, for example, just like high energy prices.
The agreed prices apply even if the costs increase
According to a survey by the Central Association of German Skilled Trades, no company can fully pass on rising energy costs to its customers – two-thirds only partially and one-third not at all. Higher prices for energy and materials are detrimental to profits and can even make an order negative; for example in construction, where contracts have been concluded. Here, craftsmen have to stick to the agreed price, even if material costs rise sharply.
With high inflation, customers are very careful about what they spend. And the craftsman is not necessarily first. Bavarian Craftsman President Franz Xaver Peteranderl notes that customers are reluctant. Then the period between two visits to the hairdresser is extended or you forgo the wallpaper when building the house and just paint it in order to reduce costs.
First international crafts fair in three years
The Internationale Handwerksmesse with 650 exhibitors is at least one way to reconnect with customers. It will take place again until Sunday for the first time in three years – and for the first time in the summer and not in March as usual. It will be inaugurated today by, among others, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck and Hans-Peter Wollseifer, President of the Central Association of German Craftsmen. As in the past, visitors to the fair can admire all kinds of craftsmanship and get advice on construction and renovation. But not everything remains the same, explains organizer Dieter Dohr. This year there will be a gourmet market, where handmade foods will be presented.
There is also a “Young Generation” area again this year, where young people can try their hand at crafts. In addition to rising prices and delivery bottlenecks, companies are primarily concerned about the shortage of skilled labour, as many young people prefer to study rather than start an apprenticeship. According to the Central Association of German Crafts and Trades, there is a shortage of 250,000 skilled workers in companies across the country.