Back from Drupa with, among other things, a carpet burn*, a cough** and three notebooks full of scribblings that now need to be re-read and assimilated into coherent thoughts on the show.
Contraction in print’s developed markets was writ large in the final visitor tally, which at 314,500 – down 19.3% on the 2008 show – was lower than the 320,000 hoped for on the penultimate day, and way off the pre-show ambitions for 350,000.
Due to the way visitor data is collected, and protected, we don’t have details, such as the number of unique visitors. One exhibitor told me he takes the final figure and divides it by 2.3 to get a rough approximation.
The shift in the industry’s powerbase was also apparent. By far the largest number of visitors (123,000) still came from Germany. Second to that was India with 15,000.
Amid the inevitable round of rumours about Drupa moving to Hannover, or Berlin (both deemed unlikely), there was talk of the show being cut to 12 days in future, which is more likely, but will mean exhibitors leave their bigger bits of kit at home. The next Drupa is currently in the diary for 2-15 June 2016.
The exhibition has certainly kick-started a round of investments judging by the figures emanating from Heidelberg, KBA, HP, Canon and many others. Heidelberg chief Bernhard Schreier reported that order volumes from China were not far behind those from Germany, which had come as a surprise.
And "hundreds" of people were willing to put €10,000 on the table in order to get in on the ground floor of Benny Landa’s nascent nano-printing technology.
But the shadow of the unfolding eurozone crisis looms large in all this, especially when one looks back at what happened after the last Drupa four years ago. At the moment it looks like the only company this could be good news for is De La Rue (share price climbing), which might find itself with a rush order for a considerable amount of drachma in the not-too-distant future.
Read PrintWeek's Briefing on this subject here