Digital print giants call time on Drupa 2021

Jo Francis
Monday, October 5, 2020

Two more of Drupa’s biggest exhibitors have pulled out of the 2021 show due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Drupa: Covid-19 pandemic has stymied exhibitor plans
Drupa: Covid-19 pandemic has stymied exhibitor plans

Japanese-headquartered digital printing giants Ricoh and Canon have separately confirmed that they have canned plans to exhibit.

Ricoh said that the decision had not been taken lightly.

Eef De Ridder, vice president, of Ricoh Europe’s Commercial & Industrial Printing Group, commented: “Ricoh has always highly valued the opportunities that Drupa has brought us over the years. However, we have taken this difficult decision to withdraw as the continued health, safety and wellbeing of our clients, partners and staff is our number one priority.”

Under its ‘Henkaku’ motto, meaning “transformational innovation”, Ricoh said it would ramp up its series of Henkaku Live virtual events.

“More events are planned later this year with an emphasis on industrial print,” the firm stated.

Canon told Printweek that the imaging and printing multinational had also decided not to participate.

Mark Lawn, Canon director of professional print solutions digital said: “As a normal course of business, we frequently evaluate the viability of our participation at major trade shows and events. After careful consideration, due to the ongoing uncertainty caused by Covid and the understandable concerns that people have around travel, we have decided that we will not physically be exhibiting at Drupa 2021.

“We remain totally committed to the print industry supporting our customers’ demands, today, and over the long term. It is a responsibility we take very seriously.”

Writing on LinkedIn, Lawn also said: "Drupa has always been an important date in the diary, and it has given us the platform to truly show the full breadth of Canon’s offerings – from our R&D developments in Tokyo and Venlo, delivering cut sheet, continuous feed and large format solutions. We don’t often have those opportunities to show our whole B2B platform.

"Our business plans have been challenged a lot in 2020. We’ve adjusted projects, refocussed business priorities, and we’ve had to address how we can connect with the print community when face to face meetings have been compromised.

"Trade shows have long been a pivotal moment in our calendar, as I’m sure will be the case for our customers, partners and industry peers too. It’s the chance to connect with the industry, have some valuable conversations with people who don’t regularly cross our path, and to demonstrate our product portfolio. It’s also a great chance to catch up with old friends and colleagues.

Lawn said Canon was "adamant" that the move would not leave a gap in its connection to the industry, and "look forward to seeing Drupa’s proposal for its virtual event".

Both firms were due to exhibit in Hall 8a, one of two so-called ‘digital halls’ at the north end of the huge Messe Dusseldorf showground. 

They join a lengthening list of big-name cancellations, including HP, Heidelberg, Komori, EFI, Fujifilm and Kodak. 

An industry source commented: “We all saw it coming so it shouldn’t be a shock. The Messe really needs to face reality. It's over.”

Drupa’s own online virtual event, Drupa Preview, is set to go live this month. It’s not clear whether firms that had planned to exhibit at Drupa 2021, but have pulled out because of the pandemic, will be able to participate in Drupa Preview.

Exhibitions and events are also in turmoil in the UK. The Events Industry Alliance of trade bodies representing event organisers, venues and suppliers has written to prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak pleading for an urgent support package for the stalled sector, with events not able to take place for at least another six months.

In the letter, which was sent last Friday (2 October), the EIA described the situation as an “existential threat” to the whole sector.

“We are not an unviable sector and simply require support to survive until the time is right to resume events, at which point we can return to our role of driving growth in the wider economy. Before Covid-19, the events industry was a vibrant, growing sector; contributing some £70bn of economic impact to the UK, with trade shows and consumer exhibitions some £11bn. The sector also supports a further 180,000 businesses, many of whom are SMEs, who rely on exhibitions and events to meet customers and generate sales across every market and industry sector,” the letter stated.



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