FESPA Global Print Expo’s status as the leading international exhibition for speciality print and signage remains unchallenged, as the May 2019 event welcomed 20,780 individual visitors from 137 countries over the course of four days (Messe München, 14 – 17 May 2019).

FESPA Global Print Expo’s status as the leading international exhibition for speciality print and signage remains unchallenged, as the May 2019 event welcomed 20,780 individual visitors from 137 countries over the course of four days (Messe München, 14 – 17 May 2019).

Consistent with previous events, the host country delivered the largest national delegation of visitors at 25% of the total number, with attendees travelling from across Germany, followed by Italy (7%) and Austria (5%). Overall, the exhibition attracted a diverse international audience from far beyond Europe, including visitors from as far afield as Israel, Turkey, China, Japan, the USA and Australia.

Total attendance including repeat visits reached 34,104, with almost two thirds of all visitors committing two or more days to the show. 1 in 3 visitors were final decision-makers, cementing FESPA Global Print Expo’s status as a key buying event in the print industry calendar.

FESPA Exhibitions Director, Roz Guarnori says: “The overall attendance figures indicate that there is a sustained interest in an exhibition like FESPA Global Print Expo. However, what has been most rewarding is the feedback on how the show has delivered in terms of ‘return on experience’, which suggests visitors and exhibitors are focusing more on the valuable insight and knowledge gathered from the show and its features, rather than thinking exclusively in terms of cost per lead or ROI. The response is encouraging, especially for an event that has always aimed to inspire and highlight the possibilities that speciality print has to offer.”

Digital print machinery was singled out as the key area of interest for 41% of visitors, followed by digital print consumables (31%). This is matched by the proportion of visitors interested in textile and fabric, demonstrating FESPA’s growing importance as an international meeting place for the textile printing and garment manufacturing communities. This is reflected in the launch of the new Sportswear Pro event, to be co-located with FESPA Global Print Expo in Madrid, Spain, March 2020.

Consistent with FESPA’s mission to support print businesses with education and best practice guidance, the FESPA 2019 event programme included a range of immersive features such as Printeriors (printed interior décor), Print Make Wear (garment printing and production) and Colour L*A*B* (colour management), as well as the popular Trend Theatre, FESPA Awards and the World Wrap Masters vehicle wrapping championship. Collectively, the features attracted thousands of visitors through a combination of creative displays, engaging speakers, guided tours and practical demonstrations.

A show of firsts

FESPA Global Print Expo 2019’s strapline, ‘An Explosion of Possibilities’, spoke to the array of opportunities for business development in speciality print. This was evident from the extensive line-up of product launches and enhancements introduced at the show. A total of 700 exhibitors filled six of Messe München’s halls, displaying a host of new equipment and colourful applications.

EFI and Mimaki chose FESPA 2019 as the platform to debut their new flatbed printers, the Pro 30f and the JFX200-2513 EX respectively, while Epson expanded its SureColor SC-S range with the addition of two new industrial output models, the SC-S60600L and the SC80600L. Roll-to-roll printing was another key area of innovation, with Canon unveiling its latest system, the Océ Colorado 1650, while swissQprint launched Karibu, its first roll-to-roll printer. Durst instead introduced its own modular software solutions – Durst Workflow, Durst Analytics and Durst Smart Shop – to provide customers with an automated production unit ‘from pixel to output’.

Elsewhere, textile print saw some significant hardware announcements, such as the debut of HP’s flagship 3.2m-wide S1000 Stitch dye-sublimation printer. Kornit Digital displayed for the first time the Kornit Atlas, a heavy duty system created for super-industrial garment decoration businesses, and the Kornit Avalanche Poly Pro, featuring the company’s NeoPolyTM Technology, the industry’s first digital, industrial process for high-quality printing on polyester.

Positive feedback

Exhibitors such as Canon Europe and Dataline commented on the strong volume of leads generated at the show. “FESPA is an occasion to meet with customers and prospects from all over EMEA to develop our sales pipeline and this year we exceeded our expectations for leads across all our products,” said Wouter Derichs, Sales & Marketing Director, Large Format Graphics, Canon Europe. “We could not have been at a better place at a better time, we even overshot all our targets with high-quality leads,” added Dirk Deroo, CEO at Dataline.

Other companies were keen to highlight the international scope of the visitor audience. Danna Drion, Senior Marketing Manager EMEA at Mimaki Europe commented: “We were particularly pleased to see the way in which FESPA is becoming an increasingly international exhibition. In fact, at FESPA 2019, we met visitors not only from EMEA, but also from the Americas, Asia and Australia, reaching the widest international audience ever.”

A number of highly satisfied exhibitors are already anticipating FESPA Global Print Expo 2020. Stephan Keimer, Sales Manager at Bickers said: “This has been one of the best FESPA shows for us. The quality of the visitors has been excellent – we’ve had productive conversations with decision-makers, some of which have even led to onsite sales. The FESPA organisers are doing a great job and we’re looking forward to be returning to Madrid next year.”

Louis Patruno, Director Marketing & New Business at DS Smith, a first-time exhibitor, was also particularly enthusiastic about the event: “The show has been a very insightful experience for us. From our talks with visitors and prospects, we’ve noticed three key trends: first of all, FESPA has built a truly international audience – the show can no longer be classified as a European show, opening up a host of new business opportunities for exhibitors; secondly, we have been very impressed with the quality of demand – visitors know what they want and now have very specific requirements that we need to be able to satisfy; and finally, sustainability has become a key priority, with an increasing number of customers keen to embrace green practices and we need to be able to deliver eco-friendly products. In that respect, the show has been an eye-opener.”

Roz concludes: “The wave of positive feedback from visitors and exhibitors in Munich has been nothing short of overwhelming. It’s invigorating to see that FESPA is increasingly viewed as the leading global showcase of technological innovation in digital, screen and textile print, as well as a key annual event for investment decisions. We look forward to building on this reputation in the years to come, starting with our 2020 Global Print Expo in Madrid.”

FESPA Global Print Expo 2020 will be held at IFEMA – Feria de Madrid, Spain, from 24 to 27 March 2020. Also taking place alongside the event will be European Sign Expo 2020 for non-printed signage, and Sportswear Pro 2020, FESPA’s newly launched exhibition dedicated exclusively to sportswear manufacturing.