Why do people visit a trade show and why do manufacturers exhibit? I guess the general idea is that they provide an easy way of updating our knowledge on new technologies and they bring the two sides together in an easy to handle atmosphere.
For the prospective customer it is an easy way of 1: updating their technical knowledge and 2: comparing competing products and techniques in a short space of time. For the manufacturer or supplier it forms an aim point for developing and introducing new products to a wide range of customers at a reasonable expense per visit.
Have trade shows outlived their usefulness in this digital information age we live in? The internet is a valuable resource for gathering the initial information about a product and can even provide an idea of competing technology. BUT there is nothing like actually seeing what is on offer first hand. It is an ideal opportunity to ask relevant questions and get immediate answers at one supplier and then gather information from their competitors in a very cost effective and timely way.
The latest attendance statistics from some of the major exhibitions indicate that the number of companies exhibiting is increasing year on year and yet attendance figures in general have not increased at the same rate. However, we have noticed that the profile of the attendees has changed and more and more important decision makers are forming a higher percentage of the persons visiting.
In the past few years technology has moved forward at such a pace that it can be difficult for a company to keep up to date with the rapid changes that we see in the pages of magazines like Narrowebtech, although this method of communication is often the first hint that a new product is about to be launched. Nevertheless these main trade journals serve an important function in advising prospective attendees of what the exhibitors will be focussing on during a particular show helping them plan their visit and to enable them to use their time to the greatest effect.
There are a myriad of different trade shows in the printing and packaging industries. The “local” shows in particular countries means that, in general, potential customers do not have to travel relatively long distances to attend a show specific to their requirements. An example is the Labelexpo franchise which for many years alternated between Brussels (Europe) and Chicago (America) on a biannual basis. At the last count there are now six events related to the franchise to include India, Asia, South East Asia and Latin America.
All are reporting record numbers of exhibitors and a healthy cross section of attendees from across the label and packaging industries confirming the fact that the trade shows on a global basis are serving a very useful and essential service.
So the question have trade shows outlived their usefulness? No, in my opinion they will continue to provide easy and comparatively cost effective ways of disseminating knowledge for the supplier and for the customer an easy way to keep up to date with the trends in a particular industry sector.