GRAPHICS OF THE AMERICAS 2002 — Shining in Miami

BY MARK MICHELSON

With its emphasis on attracting graphic arts professionals from both North and Latin America, the 27th annual Graphics of the Americas (GOA) exhibition, held in early February at the Miami Beach Convention Center, bucked current industry trends of weak buying activity and light trade show traffic.

All told, 22,101 people attended the event, which featured over 500 exhibitors representing approximately 1,500 different companies and occupying nearly 1,400 booths.

The Printing Association of Florida (PAF), the exhibition organizer, points to several key factors to explain the strong showing in light of recent economic turmoil.

“As the first major printing, converting and graphic arts show of the year, many buyers have a brand new budget for purchases and acquisitions,” notes Chris Price, vice president and general manager for Graphics of the Americas. With its unique, dual market in reaching North and Latin American buyers, he adds, this diversity means that a strong market in one region can offset economic turmoil in another.

Additionally, in anticipation of shrinking travel budgets, GOA increased its marketing efforts for the 2002 edition to help guarantee strong visitor traffic.

“GOA 2002 has restored my faith in the value of trade shows,” praised Mark Pellman, sales director of Baum USA, following his company’s participation as an exhibitor. “I’ve been burning up my cell phone batteries by selling equipment and answering leads that I got from this show.”

According to PAF officials, Heidelberg—the world’s largest manufacturer of printing presses and equipment—also reported strong show sales and a surprisingly high number of prospective sales garnered from among the attendees. Likewise, Berkshire Westwood sold every piece of equipment in its booth “two-fold,” revealed Juan Gomez, digital manager for the distributor.

Some of the exhibitor success can also be attributed to the expanded market areas included within the show.

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