Overall I believe that Informa have done a brilliant job in putting on an interesting and effective Ipex without most of the major players in the market. I am sure that they have lost money because of cancellation charges for unused space at the ExCel exhibition centre, however they are going ahead with plans for IPEX 2018. The concept of using content and information through the World Print Summit and Ipex Masterclasses to drive visitors to the event could well be the format for the future of print related trade shows.
So what is the future for trade shows, and what can we expect for the future. Obviously the major vendors, including those that withdrew from Ipex are key for future shows. Many of these vendors however do believe there are too many trade shows and also have doubts about the needs for events that cover all forms of printing. I spoke with Simon Lewis who is responsible for strategic marketing of HP Indigo and he indicated the amount of pressure on vendors. For them Ipex was one show too many at this time. For HP they have just had a very successful HP Indigo only event with DScoop. There is also the upcoming FESPA European Sign Expo in May that is a major event for display, point of sale and signage. LabelExpo Europe, the world largest label event was held in Belgium in September 2013 and will be held again in September next year. LabelExpo Americas will be held in September this year. In the packaging area the leading packaging event Interpack takes place in May this year. Simon Lewis also stated that HP Indigo was concentrating heavily of getting it 10,000, 20,000 and 30,000 product ranges into the market and had no other new products to introduce at this time.
One of the successes of this Ipex was the amount of new small companies that were showing, many for the first time in Europe. Shows like Ipex and GraphExpo in the USA are ideal for small companies in getting to the market, however I feel that with a few exceptions that the big all-encompassing trade shows are a thing of the past. Instead we will have the specialist shows like FESPA, LabelExpo and InterPack, the new InPrint event in Germany in April for industrial printing, plus the vendor specific events like DScoop, EFI Connect and Canon/Océ Business Days. Ipex may have shown a new type of event for the future where content may drive visitors, and where a host of smaller companies will be of great importance that are particularly in the area of added value operations. In fact at this Ipex perhaps the key aspect was that it was very much a digital print-finishing event. There was a lot of innovation in this area and many printers were looking specifically at adding value to the existing printing operations.