Real trade fairs will continue to be of essential importance for exhibitors. However, trade fairs will be supplemented to a greater extent by virtual event formats. This is the conclusion of a current analysis of the German trade fair industry before, during and after the Corona pandemic by the German Ifo Institute for Economic Research, published now in the current ifo-Schnelldienst 10/2021. The prospect is based on a poll about economic development among more than 2000 exhibitors, including almost 1,600 from the manufacturing sector and more than 530 from the wholesale sector. The questions related to the exhibitors’ general plans to participate in future trade shows.
Joern Holtmeier, Managing Director of the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry AUMA, comments on the report: “Ifo impressively shows that exhibitors continue relying on real trade fairs. Exhibitors with virtual trade fair experience, too, wish to take part again in true trade fairs. The high numbers of foreign exhibitors right now are formidable proof of Germany’s worldwide top position as trade fair location. The industry always had to be extremely flexible. In connection with the pandemic, trade fairs have proven again that they are able to transform. We quickly have understood: in future, virtual measures will extend live events. As makers of most of the worldwide leading trade fairs, the organisers can count on extensive knowledge and proficiency. The trade fair industry is itching to restart.”
Additionally the report shows that the German trade fair industry is one of the most severely affected business sections by the pandemic. Between March 2020 and September 2021 the German trade fair locations were forced to a standstill of almost 19 months. In 2020 this induced a loss in sales of 70 per cent merely for trade fair organisers. The overall economic loss adds up to 42 billion Euro to date. For 2021, again, a dramatic loss is looming: by end of September more than two thirds of the 380 scheduled trade fairs for 2021 have had to be cancelled. One year without trade fairs means economic losses, too, for more than 40 per cent of the exhibiting industrial enterprises. According to the report, small businesses verifiably are having a hard time to compensate lost orders caused by cancelled trade fairs.
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