Primarily services companies plan to focus more intensively on exhibitions
The average German exhibiting company intends to spend around €285,000 on exhibitions in total in 2017 and 2018, 1.5% more than in 2015 and 2016. Services companies intend to increase their exhibition budgets by an above-average 4.7%; trading companies plan 2.6% greater exhibition expenses, while manufacturing companies will be increasing their exhibition investments by only 0.7%. However, at €376,000 in two years, manufacturing companies already have the highest average exhibition budget, while that of trading companies is €218,000 and of service providers €154,000. This was the finding of AUMA’s MesseTrend 2017, a survey of 500 representatively selected companies conducted by TNS Emnid in November 2016 on behalf of AUMA – Association of the German Trade Fair Industry.
“Face-to-face communication is obviously still booming. Exhibitions offer the possibility not just of meeting business partners, but also to evaluate products and services together and to discuss strengths and weaknesses. This is very much appreciated by many companies, particularly in view of the many one-sided evaluations circulating online”, commented AUMA Chairman Walter Mennekes on the results of the AUMA MesseTrend 2017.
Services companies’ increasing expenditure for exhibitions is also remarkable, because previously they have rarely focused on exhibitions as the central marketing tool – around 17% claim to. By contrast, over 30% of manufacturing and trading companies say that exhibitions are their most important instrument.
On average across all companies, 28% view exhibitions as the central instrument of their B-to-B communication. 46% see exhibitions as equal to other instruments.
Among exhibiting companies’ objectives, the acquisition of new customers has now taken priority, with 83% of exhibitors naming this objective; almost the same number named the care of regular customers. This was followed by the objectives of increasing awareness (81%) and presenting new products and services (80%). Remarkably, the objective ‘concluding contracts during or after the exhibition’ is again becoming more important and is now the objective of two thirds of exhibitors. The acquisition of new employees has established itself as an important ancillary objective, stated by 19% of those surveyed and even by a third of the somewhat larger companies with turnover of more than €50 million.
Exhibitions continue to have a strong position in the business-to-business communication spectrum. 83% of the exhibiting companies surveyed view them as important or very important. Five years ago the figure was still 85%. The company website measured 89% (2012: 91 %) and personal sales 74% (2012: 76%). Direct mailing (named as important by 48% in 2017, compared with 61 % in 2012) and advertising in trade publications (2017: 37%; 2012: 48%) have fallen significantly.
The future prospects of the exhibition as a marketing tool are evidently not bad, since over three quarters of companies anticipate its level of importance to range from stable to increasing over the next five years, 22% expect a lower level of importance, while almost none (1%) of the companies exhibiting today intend to stop participating in exhibitions in the future.
The entire study will be published in German at the beginning of February in the publication series of the Institute of the German Trade Fair Industry.
© Koelnmesse GmbH, Harald Fleissner