FESPA has kick-started business recovery in the speciality print and signage communities with the successful return of FESPA Global Print Expo and European Sign Expo 2021 (12 – 15 October 2021) after a two-year gap. The first live FESPA events in Europe since Spring 2019 attracted a strong audience dominated by business leaders, who came with an appetite to update their industry knowledge with a view to short- and medium-term investment.
Neil Felton, FESPA CEO comments: “Feedback from exhibitors was effusive, with many commenting on the upbeat mood among visitors, the unmatched value of face-to-face conversations with senior decision-makers, the enthusiasm for the new technologies and consumables on display, and the overriding sense of optimism for the future. The buzz in the halls was energising and the impression was that delegates felt very confident and happy to be in a live event environment again after such a long time.”
Reflecting Neil’s observations, Danna Drion, EMEA General Marketing Manager at FESPA Gold Sponsor Mimaki Europe comments, “We were thrilled to be back at FESPA Global Print Expo after such a long and difficult period. To finally be able to meet everyone in person was both exciting and reinvigorating. During the four days, the general atmosphere was overwhelmingly positive. We could see how the industry is not only alive but back to running at full speed, with all the players looking into new, innovative applications, as well as into the cutting-edge technologies. Not only did we exceed our targets, but we also welcomed high-profile, decision-making visitors, who came to plan their next investments and showed huge interest in our latest products.”
International audience of senior decision-makers
Visitors came from more than 100 countries, with a strong emphasis on the Benelux region and Germany which accounted for 49% of the audience, in line with expectations given the location in Amsterdam. Other strongly represented countries were Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Spain and Poland. As anticipated, the challenges for long-haul travellers due to COVID-related restrictions resulted in fewer visitors from outside Europe than usual for a Global Print Expo event. In total, the events attracted 7,850 unique visitors, 42% of whom attended for more than one day, bringing total visits to 11,130.
Close to half of all visitors (44%) were owners or managing directors, reinforcing the significance of the event as a springboard for business recovery and forward planning. Two in three visitors influence or make final purchasing decisions in their business.
54% of visitors stated that they were visiting FESPA for the first time, indicating a thirst for market knowledge, insight and inspiration following the commercial challenges of the pandemic.
Sources of inspiration
Printeriors was once again a popular attraction for visitors. Inspired by nature and curated by FESPA’s Textile Ambassador, Debbie McKeegan, the feature highlighted digitally printed applications targeted at printers operating in or looking to expand into interior décor. In collaboration with industry suppliers including Imageco, Kornit Digital, PONGS, swissQprint and TTS, the products displayed were produced using a series of high-end technologies, print processes and materials.
The European leg of the Wrap Masters competition was also a key area of interest. In addition to a series of demonstrations and workshops from wrap experts, visitors saw competitors battle it out for the title of “Wrap Master Europe 2021”. On day four, Norman Brübach from Germany was crowned the winner and will go on to compete against regional champions in the World Wrap Masters final at FESPA Global Print Expo 2022 in Berlin.
For members of the community unable to attend the event in person, FESPA and its exhibitors provided an array of live-streamed and virtual content. The FESPA Live sessions involved conversations with key exhibitors, printers and print experts on the latest trends and innovations and these attracted 5,125 views throughout the four-day event. The recordings of the sessions are also still available to watch on demand.
Neil Felton concludes: “The past two years have undoubtedly been challenging for everyone in our community. To move forward, printers and signmakers need to unearth new opportunities, explore the latest technologies and meet with peers to share ideas. This year’s events were an important milestone in our collective recovery and we hope that our next Global Print Expo and European Sign Expo, which will return to Messe Berlin, Germany, from 31 May – 3 June 2022, will finally put our whole global community back in motion.”