This trend was already evident in the first half of the event and exhibitors reported the conclusion of numerous deals from all over the world. This willingness to invest continued in the second half of the trade fair.
“drupa was a resounding success for the sector. The trade fair sent out key impulses. Numerous business ideas and innovations were showcased here that all led to high investment. What the 1,850 exhibitors presented here over the past two weeks will strengthen the development potential of the print and media industry long term. Here in Düsseldorf business was done and points were set for the future of the sector,” stated Bernhard Schreier, president of drupa 2012 and chairman of the board at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG.
A total of 314,500 experts from more than 130 countries came to drupa 2012 in Düsseldorf, Germany - 75,500 less than at the last staging of drupa in 2008.
“This decrease does not come as a surprise for us and the sector as a whole. In Germany alone the printing industry lost some 3,900 companies with over 61,000 employees between 2000 and 2011. During the same time, more than 7,700 printing operations closed in the U.S.,” explained Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, president and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf. “Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that fewer visitors came to drupa 2012. However – and this is the key point – customers now no longer come to drupa as large delegations or on group corporate trips. It is much more top managers who travel to Düsseldorf. drupa is clearly the decision-makers’ trade fair and the trade fair for business.”
“drupa sent out key impulses in this difficult climate for our sector. This gives us optimism that the backlog in investment on many markets around the world is now gradually being overcome,” remarked Dr. Markus Heering, managing director of the Print and Paper Technology Association within the German Engineering Federation (VDMA). Numerous orders were placed during the trade fair and both large printing machinery manufacturers and their suppliers posted orders. The number of inquiries also rose continually over the course of drupa 2012, with exhibitors looking forward to good post-show business.
With these results, drupa 2012 confirmed its position as the world’s most important and largest B2B trade fair in its sector. The visitor survey also supports the trade fair’s status: drupa visitors came with specific investment intentions and almost 50% of them place specific orders – and most of these on show site. The proportion of attendees with top management titles has grown significantly since 2008: 50.8% at drupa 2012 compared to 44.4% at drupa 2008.
With more than 190,000 visitors from counties other than Germany, the international focus of drupa continued at a very high level. The second largest visitor nation after Germany (123,000 visitors) was India (some 15,000 attendees), followed by Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Great Britain, the U.S., Switzerland and Italy. The drupa organizers were particularly pleased about the increase of visitors from South and Central America (8.8% in 2012 compared to 7% in 2008) – specifically from Brazil. With approximately 2,400 journalists from 75 nations participating in drupa 2012, representatives from the press were also very international.
On the exhibitor side, 67% of the companies came from countries other than Germany, with China, Italy, Great Britain and the U.S. (107 companies) as the leading foreign exhibitor nations. The U.S. exhibitor figure includes 30 companies displaying their products within the successful U.S. Pavilion, organized by Messe Düsseldorf North America (MDNA) and co-sponsored by NPES – The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies.
The dominating themes at drupa 2012 were automation, packaging printing, digital printing, hybrid technologies, web-to-print applications and environmentally sound printing. Overall, 40% of the visitors were interested in digital printing machinery and digital printing systems. Also attracting a lot of attention was the future theme printed electronics which was highlighted at drupa within the drupa innovation park, the drupa cube, in a Highlight Tour and at many booths of the drupa exhibitors.
“Technologically, drupa 2012 was a trade fair of superlatives. It demonstrated that printing is more alive than ever,” noted Rolf Schwarz, president of the German Print and Media Association Bundesverband Druck und Medien. “There were impressive innovations in all printing processes. I was particularly excited by suppliers and machinery manufacturers from upstream supplies, printing and further processing who jointly convinced visitors with workflow and production solutions and outstanding products. Offset and digital print solutions complement rather than compete with each other here.”
The specialist ancillary program was also very well received. More than 20% of the visitors were interested in the drupa innovation park and drupa cube presented by digi:media. With more than 130 exhibitors, the drupa innovation park (dip) was a hub and focal point for innovations in the digital supplies sector and reported a very successful drupa.
“The innovation park at drupa 2012 is one of the most unique areas because it focuses on new ideas. Many new ideas are not worthy of a huge stand, but they must be presented in some way that people can see and understand them,” explained Frank Romano, professor emeritus, Rochester Institute of Technology/U.S. “drupa is one of the most interesting trade shows because it does this. It finds areas which are not in the mainstream, but will be. So the drupa innovation park is an innovative idea in and for itself.”
While the focus at the dip was technology, the drupa cube concentrated on trends in cross-media, print-based communication. The 13-day German-English congress program featuring over 80 speakers was specifically geared towards print buyers, marketing decision-makers, advertisers, publishing houses and designers. During the differently themed days, some 1,000 specialists from 55 countries gathered information on cross-media campaigns, corporate publishing, trends in newspaper, book and magazine production, out-of-home applications, dialogue marketing, packaging, electronic printing and media production.
The next staging of drupa will be held from June 2 – 15, 2016 in Düsseldorf, Germany.