Explosive FESPA Digital 2011 reflects unstoppable market evolution

Messe Hamburg

The unstoppable digital evolution of the wide-format imaging marketplace was clear for all to see at last week’s FESPA Digital 2011 and FESPA Fabric 2011 events, which took place side by side at the Hamburg Messe from 24-27 May and 24-26 May respectively. The combined shows attracted a record-breaking audience of over 13000 individual visitors, a 34% increase over the last FESPA Digital event, which took place in 2009 in Amsterdam.

Of the 13000 visitors, around 5300 attended the show on more than one day, resulting in a total of 18300 visits. On this basis, more than 40% of all visitors to FESPA Digital 2011 and FESPA Fabric 2011 devoted more than a day to their visit (2009: 32%). This is a strong indicator of the extensive scope of the two 2011 events, and the commitment of visiting printers to take in the full spectrum of technology innovations and educational content.

The FESPA Fabric ‘event within an event’ in Hall B1 specifically attracted 2500 visitors looking to update themselves on the latest technology, substrate and ink development in garment printing and decoration.

FESPA Managing Director Neil Felton comments: “When the doors opened on Tuesday, the enthusiasm of the hundreds of printers massed in the Messe atrium was palpable. Visitors from overseas did suffer some significant travel disruption on Day 2, resulting from the six-hour closure of Hamburg Airport due to the ash cloud from the Grímsvötn volcano. Clearly though, this did not dampen an amazing, truly international event that has exceeded even our most optimistic expectations.”

Exhibitors were universally positive about the volume, quality and international mix of visitors. German printers represented around 45% of the visitor base, followed by particularly strong attendance from the UK, Benelux, Scandinavia, Italy and France. Eastern European markets including Poland, the Czech Republic and Russia were well represented too, and significant visitor delegations from more distant growth markets such as Turkey, India, Brazil and China also contributed strongly to the global profile of the event.

The FESPA Digital Showcase and Fresener’s Fabric theatres attracted hundreds of printers over the four days to hear insights across a range of pertinent topics. The daily live debates on the FESPA stand touched on some of the most pressing issues confronting today’s wide format print service provider; how to evolve print services to meet the needs of a today’s customers; how to improve interaction with agency and brand owner customers taking account of their changing needs; and how to leverage the potential of the Internet to grow business. Other visitor attractions included the European round of the FESPA Wrap Cup Series, and the 3rd FESPA Digital Textile Conference, which welcomed 70 delegates on Day 2 of the show.