Graph Expo Builds Industry's Confidence
Nothing boosts the confidence of an industry more than a successful trade show, and judging by the attendance figures from this year's Graph Expo and Converting Expo, the graphic arts industry may be recovering from the two-year downturn in the marketplace.
Nearly 38,000 print and graphic arts professionals made their way to the four-day event at McCormick Place South in Chicago, which featured full seminars and product demonstrations by over 570 exhibitors covering more than 380,000 square feet. Many vendors reported brisk sales with some having to add more staff to their booths.
"From the time the hall opened until it closed each day our booth [was] packed," noted Kevin Oakes, central regional manager, digital publishing solutions, Indigo sales. "We [had] two demo rooms, and they were both booked every hour and booked solid throughout the show. The quality and knowledge level of the prospects at this show [was] phenomenal. We were having phenomenal success in booking orders."
Executives of MAN Roland reported a similar story. Yves Rogivue, chief executive officer of the company, said his staff generated good leads and many orders, while executives of Heidelberg booked a significant amount of business. "Over the first two days of the show, we accumulated an average of 500 qualified sales leads, which to me means that people are more confident going forward," explained Niels M. Winther, president and chief executive officer of Heidelberg. "This show exceeded our expectations. We are very encouraged and see only positive signs for an improvement in the industry's outlook." After three days, Heidelberg's orders from the show totaled almost $115 million, about $25 million more than expected.
Traffic was steady through most of the first three days, noted Kathy Marx, vice president for marketing and strategic planning for Flint Ink. "Everyone I was speaking with seemed sincerely interested in talking about solutions," she recalled. "It was much better that I expected."
The seminars were also well attended with over 200 registrants for Acrobat PDF: 101 Tips and Tricks, and 130 registrants each for Print Production Trends, Building New Business and Variable Data Printing moderated by Frank Romano, a professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The general session, Battle of the Industry Curmudgeons, which Romano also moderated, attracted a crowd of over 200. Workflows featuring wide format digital inkjet output in the Wide Format Opportunities Pavilion, saw a large turnout as well. Those in attendance witnessed an image being captured digitally and saw the file processed, outputted and finished on site.
"Solid attendance, strong sales performance, full seminar sessions and abundant networking opportunities characterized the annual event," Regis Delmontagne, president of the Graphic Arts Show Co. summarized, "creating the success the industry sorely needed."