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GRAPHICS OF THE AMERICAS 2002 -- Shining in Miami

April 2002
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.

For example, a record 70+ converting equipment manufacturers displayed their latest innovations, including high-profile companies like Bielomatik, Bobst Group and Mark Andy, among others. "Our exhibitors recognize that more than 40 percent of our attendees are from Latin America, where the traditional printer is also involved in converting to some degree," says Price. "And the large number of manufacturers means attendees benefit from competitive pricing and selection."

Taking a Test Drive

Booths focused on design and prepress technologies also grew exponentially from past shows, with exhibits from Adobe, Quark, Markzware Software and more illustrating the convergence of these two market sectors. GOA also featured a 600-square-foot area of the show floor where visitors could actually test-drive the newest versions of popular design software such as Adobe InDesign 2.0, QuarkXPress 5.0 and Photoshop on computers supplied by show management.
 

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