We frequently hear talk of how big the Interplas exhibition used to be – apparently Battenfeld alone filled one hall!
There probably isn’t one contributing factor for the drop off in interest seen from the late 90’s, but reasons cited include:
– Reduction in staff levels. UK companies now run a tighter ship, so can’t so readily release members of staff. Attendance numbers may have dropped, but is also likely that the right people are attending – there’s certainly less evidence of ‘bag fillers’ out on a ‘company jolly’. As a frequent exhibitor, give me quality over quantity any day, it’s far easier to effectively manage a stand.
– Reduction in the spending power of potential exhibitors. This mainly relates to the justification for the high expenditure associated with a self-build stand, particularly if you are demonstrating large pieces of equipment. In reality, the ‘big players’ are still in attendance, the stands have just decreased in size. It is no doubt the case that sales margins have also been squeezed over the years, leading to reduced budgets.
– Reduction in the spending power or demand of customers. If plastic processing companies aren’t thriving, then they have less disposable income and no need to increase production. There has always been the argument for the replacement of older equipment with modern energy efficient models, but the decline in power prices and availability of interest-free loans for carbon footprint reduction has made this less attractive.
Are things on the up?
There is however strong evidence of a resurgence in both exhibiting and attending exhibitions in the UK and overseas. The last Interplas exhibition in 2014 saw a 10% increase in visitor numbers, as well as improved levels of exhibitors and associated floor space occupation.
International attendance at Interplas also increased in 2014 with visitors from 56 countries travelling to the NEC, Birmingham, underlining the importance of the UK plastics sector on the world stage.
Demand from exhibitors for Interplas 2017 has further improved, with an additional hall being opened due to higher levels of interest. This should in turn generate additional visitors, as there will be some new faces to visit. The PlastikCity Pavilion alone has added 20 new exhibitors, many of which are offering products and services that are not typically represented, but are still very relevant to our sector.
So why the improvement?
Last month the BPF published a report showing a record 80% of plastic manufacturing companies are expecting turnover to increase over the next 12 months. This trend has been evident over the last two years where the majority of plastic industry suppliers have seen strong increases in sales.
This subsequently increases the confidence of suppliers to invest in marketing, knowing there will be a strong demand for their products and services from an expanding customer base.
Duncan Wood, CEO at Rapid News Communications Group, owner of Interplas adds, “2014 represented a second consecutive edition of Interplas with solid growth on the key metrics of number of visitors, exhibitors and space sold. I am pleased to be able to say that for 2017 we are already up on two counts, namely space sold with the expansion into the new hall and the number of exhibitors. The demand is still high with enquiries to exhibit arriving every day.
“Visitor registration looks strong as we head into the final 10 weeks. Our investment in marketing is paying off and innovative new features, including the PlastikCity Pavilion, will ensure a day, or even two, at Interplas is time well spent.
“There is no substitute for live events. The best way to learn, evaluate and make purchase decisions is by interacting in a live environment and this means trade shows, and in the UK plastics industry, this means Interplas!”
The evidence is now overwhelming that UK companies should be exhibiting and visiting our major plastics exhibitions. Aside from the obvious reasons outlined above:
– Technology. The latest equipment and services can be seen and demonstrated. We all need an edge on our competitors and technology is an efficient way to achieve this.
– Keep it local! With hot topics such as reshoring on the agenda, a UK exhibition is a great way to meet local customers and suppliers.
– Export opportunities. A weak Pound should also attract international buyers. 2014 saw visitors from 56 countries and we should expect this figure to increase this year.
– Pride in our industry. Last but certainly not least, Interplas only takes place every three years, so why shouldn’t we take a day to support our home-grown event.
Head to the PlastikCity Pavilion on stand A40 at Interplas 2017 to visit the PlastikCity and 20 of their partners. PlastikCity will be providing a reception at A40A where they’ll be demonstrating the benefits of PlastikCity to your company as a processor or supplier.