drupa Attendance Plummets, Buying Activity Strong
DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY—The numbers are in and 314,500 attendees from more than 130 countries came to drupa 2012. The figure represents a 19 percent dip—75,500 fewer visitors—over the 2008 installment of the event.
“This drop does not come as a surprise for us and the sector as a whole,” noted Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, president and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf, which organized the event. “In Germany alone, the printing industry lost some 3,900 operations with over 61,000 employees between 2000 and 2011. In the United States, over the same period, more than 7,700 printing operations closed.
“Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that fewer visitors came to drupa 2012. However, and this is the key point, customers now no longer come to drupa as large delegations or on group corporate trips; it is much more top managers who travel to Düsseldorf. drupa is clearly the decision-makers’ trade fair and the trade fair for business,” Dornscheidt added.
Despite the attendance drop, show organizers felt orders placement was brisk. Nearly 50 percent of all visitors place specific orders, most of which are signed at the trade fair itself. Messe Düsseldorf noted that the proportion of top managers amongst visitors has grown significantly since 2008 (50.8 percent in 2012 compared with 44.4 percent in 2008).
“drupa was a resounding success for the sector. The trade fair sent out key impulses,” said Bernhard Schreier, president of drupa 2012 and board chairman at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG. “Numerous business ideas and innovations were showcased here that all led to high investment. What the 1,850 exhibitors presented here over the past two weeks will strengthen the development potential of the print and media industry long term. Here in Düsseldorf, business was done and points were set for the future of the sector.”
There were 190,000-plus foreign visitors at drupa. The largest showing after host country Germany (123,000 visitors) came from India, which sent 15,000 attendees to the trade show. The United States ranked seventh in drupa attendance. South and Central America both experienced robust attendance boosts over 2008, with Brazil enjoying strong representation.