Industry Insights: Flying FESPA All Over the World

No sooner had the doors closed on our flagship FESPA London event than I was packing for a trip to Mexico City to host FESPA Mexico 2013.

FESPA 2013 in London was a truly international affair, with visitors from 126 countries, bringing together suppliers and printers from around the globe. This global knowledge exchange at our main event helps us filter learnings that enrich our regional exhibitions with content tailored to the individual markets we serve.

One of the most rewarding things about being a global organisation is that each regional show has a different energy, and unique issues and personalities that bring home the diversity of the print and FESPA’s community. Our sixth edition of FESPA Mexico was another outstanding show. Our Mexican community maintained their reputation for optimism during FESPA Mexico 2013, creating a lively, buzzing atmosphere. We welcomed 8,314 visitors across three days in Mexico, half of whom were in senior company positions and 44 percent of whom had final decision-making responsibility.

Thirteen percent of exhibitors from last year’s FESPA Mexico 2012 returned with bigger stands this year. As well as familiar faces, it was also gratifying to see a significant quota of first-time exhibitors. What’s more, a fifth of this year’s exhibitors were international, reflecting the continued positive progression of the Mexican wide format sector. Speaking with exhibitors during and after the show, their feedback affirms that FESPA Mexico is now seen as the leading exhibition in the market, with a high calibre visitor audience.

We always try to reflect Mexico’s vibrancy and enthusiasm for new business ideas and innovation through our shows. With more international companies exhibiting, visitors had the best opportunity yet to explore developments from around the globe with a view to growing their business and developing fresh business solutions. This year in particular there was heightened interest in finishing solutions, a good indicator of Mexican printers exploring ways of adding value (and margin) and providing a more comprehensive service to their customers.

Visitor feedback was glowing, with over 90 percent rating the show as good or excellent. Speaking with a few regular FESPA Mexico attendees, it’s clear that they now attend yearly to stay up to date with the latest technologies. To me, this reinforces the USP of exhibitions. Where else can printers see the latest technology innovations under one roof, as well as applications and content tailored to the specific market requirements? Exhibition industry research shows that finding product information is a key motive for visiting trade shows – they’re vital in supporting time-restricted business leaders with investment decisions.

We believe that educational content also plays a critical role in shaping those business decisions. FESPA Mexico hosted three feature favourites: Wrap Professional, Garment Central and a free-to-attend Conference. Wrap Professional is always an inspirational crowd pleaser: 32 vehicle wrapping experts battled it out to be crowned this year’s champion, with first place going to Miguel Ángel Gallardo, High Media Graphics (HMG). Garment Central included a seminar theatre offering eight free sessions covering various garment decoration applications for visitors to learn new techniques, as well as having the chance to take part in hands-on practical demonstrations. The FESPA Mexico Conference attracted a great visitor turnout with almost 500 attendees across the 3 days, exploring sessions on everything from design to colour management to digital signage.

The fact that visitors to FESPA’s regional shows gain access to content of this quality is one of the benefits of FESPA’s commitment to reinvestment in the industry through our Profit for Purpose programme. Put simply, FESPA’s success helps feed the success of our community and our flagship event in Europe.

My FESPA world tour doesn’t end in the sunny climes of Mexico though. FESPA Mexico embodies our wider philosophy of taking FESPA’s approach to events and blending it with local knowledge and market insights to create local events which deliver value for printers in each country or region.

After the FESPA General Assembly in Italy in September - where our 37 national associations come together to share insights and ideas - it’s full steam ahead for our next venture, the inaugural FESPA Eurasia 2013, which takes place from 3-5 October 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. This new event aims to set a new standard for wide format printing events in this emerging region.

Following FESPA Eurasia, I’ll head to Shanghai for the launch of FESPA China 2013, running from 18-20 November 2013. FESPA China is a further example of our partnership approach, being delivered in collaboration with our Chinese national association, CSGIA (China Screen Printing and Graphic Imaging Association).

As we move into 2014, Europe will be back on my agenda, with our FESPA Global Summit and FESPA Digital 2014 events both in Munich, Germany. And then another continent beckons, with the launch of FESPA Africa 2014, running from July 2-4, 2014 in the South African city of Johannesburg. This new joint venture will add the ‘FESPA factor’ to the established Sign Africa and Visual Communications Africa shows, making it the leading event for the sign industry.

I’m certainly going to be clocking up some air miles in the foreseeable future. The ‘Fly FESPA’ tagline for the London event now seems more apt than ever!

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