Industry Insights: Paying it Forward

2014 marks the end of the most radical decade of change in FESPA’s 50 year history. 2004 was when we established our in-house exhibitions team and took charge of our own events. It’s hard to imagine that FESPA then had just one three-yearly exhibition in Europe.


Driving Digital

FESPA 2005 in Munich was the landmark show that cemented the significance of digital technology as an industry driver, motivating our decision to launch a dedicated FESPA Digital event, focussing specifically on this fast-evolving space.

The first FESPA Digital took off in 2006 in Amsterdam, to a fantastic response. As I write this, we’re about to open the doors on our sixth FESPA Digital, having taken the event to Geneva, back to Amsterdam, on to Hamburg, down to Barcelona and—this year—back to Munich.

The exponential growth of FESPA Digital reflects the blossoming of this market—FESPA Digital 2014 is 20 percent bigger than the previous record-breaking Digital show in Hamburg, with over 450 exhibitors.

To paraphrase the famous words of two highly respected Americans, Mark Twain and Steve Jobs, reports of the digital market’s maturity are exaggerated. Virtually every major digital printing equipment vendor is bringing innovations to FESPA Digital, whether entirely new machines or developments and enhancements to existing equipment, and the progress in media and inks continues apace. This is a market that gains sophistication with each passing year, and constantly pushes its own boundaries—hence our ‘Dive Deeper’ campaign, which has resonated with our community.

Meanwhile, the flagship ‘screen + digital + textile’ event has gone from strength to strength too. Our last event in London in 2013 attracted a global audience of 22,000+, with its most international profile ever, and unprecedented interest from non-European printers. Next year the flagship FESPA 2015 event lifts off to Cologne, Germany, and we’re planning on taking the show further than ever before.


Going Global

As a community organization, changes at FESPA reflect the market we serve. One seismic shift for most business sectors has been the growing significance of emerging markets away from the traditional economic powerhouses. At FESPA we’ve embraced that opportunity fully, working with our national associations to expand FESPA’s event portfolio strategically.

We now have a presence on five continents; our European event program; FESPA Mexico in Mexico City; FESPA Brasil and Brasil Signage Expo in Sao Paulo; FESPA Eurasia in Istanbul, Turkey; FESPA China, this year in Guangzhou; and—launching in 2014—FESPA Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa, serving printers right across sub-Saharan Africa.


Ahead of Trends

Now in its seventh edition, FESPA Mexico is the poster child for our global portfolio. It shows how FESPA has taken an established event, and—working with insights from the local market—pushed it to new heights. FESPA Mexico has attracted a growing following among the leading industry suppliers, developed a more diverse regional audience, and added measurable value for visitors with the introduction of high quality educational content. FESPA events are colourful, engaging, exciting and the market takes energy and inspiration from that.

This year’s will be the largest FESPA exhibition in Mexico, with many global manufacturing brands bringing technologies to share with this audience, some for the first time. FESPA Mexico has become the most important screen and digital printing event in Mexico and Central America, and the commitment from the local and international market grows with every year.

Mexico is in growth mode, and in the wide format sector, sublimation printing and creative interior and design applications are particularly dynamic. That’s reflected in our at-show conference program, part of our commitment in all emerging markets to help printers connect with new business opportunities.

Much has been written about Mexico this year, with market watchers predicting that MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey) will eclipse BRIC in terms of growth potential. It’s reassuring to see your own strategic focus endorsed by those ‘in the know’! FESPA has a firm footprint in Mexico and south-east Asia, and our Eurasia event is stirring up the Turkish market. With FESPA Africa, we’re poised to bring FESPA to a whole new continent where there is everything for printers and their suppliers to play for.


Community Focused

10 years on, FESPA has a portfolio encompassing ten individual event brands, with exhibitions and conferences every year, serving visitors from 189 countries. Our global community comes close to a third of a million individuals, all reaping the benefits of our growth through our Profit for Purpose program. In the last seven years, reinvestment through this program has topped $5.55 million in initiatives around the world to educate, share knowledge, promote best practice and encourage networking.

This is FESPA’s way of paying it forward, turning our success into good news for printers by helping them grow their businesses.