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German companies lack business opportunities through trade fairs


Corona-related trade fair cancellations lead to economic losses


Survey among members of three major industry associations

German companies lack, to a very considerable extent, the support of trade fairs in order to increase their business success, after around three quarters of the trade fairs planned in Germany for 2020 were cancelled due to corona. 76% complain about the lack of opportunities to acquire new customers, 84% about the lack of networking with visitors and other exhibitors. Around 60 % miss the opportunity to actually present new products.

These were the findings of a survey among 427 exhibiting companies from the mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and electronics, optics, photonics and medical technology industries in October 2020, which involved the associations VDMA, ZVEI, SPECTARIS and AUMA – Association of the German Trade Fair Industry.

Likewise, around 60% of the companies surveyed miss sales opportunities via trade fairs and 53% miss an overview of new developments in the industry in terms of competitive observation.

German companies lack business opportunities through trade fairs

Over 40 % of the companies have already suffered economic losses due to cancelled trade fair participations in recent months. With every additional month without trade fair participation, the extent is likely to increase.

The most important reason for participating in real trade fairs is personal exchange, face-to-face contact, followed by acquisition of new customers and lead generation and product presentations. Other important reasons are networking, image building and customer care.

Despite the currently very uncertain framework conditions for 2021 with correspondingly limited planning perspectives, three quarters of the companies surveyed intend to retain most of their stand space at their most important trade fair participations over the next twelve months.

The willingness to participate in future trade fairs depends on two main factors: 85% of exhibitors expect an approved health protection concept, a condition which the organisers must already fulfil due to government regulations. 68% make participation in trade fairs dependent on the abolishment of travel restrictions for visitors from important foreign markets. Currently there is a positive development in this respect: exhibitor staff and trade visitors from risk areas who stay in Germany for a maximum of five days no longer have to undergo quarantine if they can present a negative corona test on entry to Germany. This is stipulated in the new model ordinance for quarantine, which has been adopted by the German federal states almost without exception.

The companies were also asked about the medium-term perspective: 42% said that in their view the importance of trade fairs will remain the same or even increase in the next five years – quite remarkable in the current psychologically difficult situation, in which hardly any trade fairs can take place.

Header Photo: HANNOVER MESSE, article body photo: Opti München
Photo credit: AUMA



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