Despite a slight drop in visitor numbers, the co-located PrintEx19, Visual Impact and the Label & Packaging Expo generated value for both the visitors who made time to attend and for exhibitors who signed millions of dollars’ worth of deals at the show.
While overall visitor numbers were 15% down on 2015 – just over 5000 visitors attended this year at Sydney Olympic Park – Visual Connections CEO Peter Harper says the figures were only a little below expectation, particularly given the continuing consolidation of the industry over the past four years.
‘Predicting visitor numbers, particularly in this sector, is always difficult, but we’re satisfied with the attendances except, perhaps, from the sign and display sector, where numbers were down significantly – a great pity given the show was full of solutions for this market.”
An industry observer noted: "This could possibly be due to the PrintEx name dominating Visual Impact and creating the impression that it is primarily a commercial print event, whereas the bulk of the exhibit area was clearly dedicated to signage and display wide-format. Perhaps too, small family sign and display shops are less able to afford the time to attend during the working week."
Exhibitors this year requested an extra day be added to the show, so the spread of visitors across four days, rather than three, may have played into a perception that numbers were down. “The ‘steady stream’ did, however, deliver less wait time and more relaxed discussions on stands – something remarked upon by both visitors and exhibitors,” said Visual Connections in a statement.
PrintEx chair Jeremy Brew said the crowds were, as usual, dominated by business owners, CEOs, MDs and senior management, intent on maximising the opportunity to negotiate deals – and negotiate they did, with business transacted at the show expected to run well into the millions.
“PrintEx19 lived up to its reputation as a ‘decision makers’ show, with industry decision makers taking advantage of the opportunity to make new connections, discuss options with the experts and get a handle on trends – all vital factors in making important investment decisions,” Brew says.
And, while feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive, the real measure of the show’s success will not be seen for some time, he points out.
“The real value in a show like PrintEx is that businesses leave better equipped to plan their future with confidence and continue to build the success of our vibrant and exciting industry,” Brew says. “That’s what makes for a successful show – and we believe it was delivered during PrintEx19.”
The year’s leading B2B show for print, sign, display, labels and packaging saw more than 120 suppliers exhibited over 6,000m2 of exhibition space at the Sydney Showground. The showcase included everything from automation and workflows, to product verification, AR innovations, wide-format and 3D printers, automated booklet production, media and substrates, flexible packaging and labelling solutions, textiles and DTG technologies.
The PrintEx Forum Series – including a dedicated Label & Packaging Show program - delivered a valuable complement to the expo, kicking off each morning with ‘Business@Breakfast’ and featuring a range of masterclasses, panel sessions and workshops during each day.
Proceeds from the breakfast sessions, together with the auction of a painting completed by artist James Patrick at the 36th National Print Awards held during PrintEx, also raised funds for the show’s two charities of choice - $4,415 to Man Anchor and $2,815 to Share the Dignity.
Rounding out the visitor cohort were 200 students attending through Visual Connections’ partnership with Re-Engineering Australia (REA), as part of an ongoing initiative to address skills shortages by encouraging young people to consider career opportunities in the industry.