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Trade fairs remain important for B2B communications

As far as business-to-business communications are concerned German companies consider trade fairs still one of the main tools. For the season 2013/2014 nearly one quarter of exhibiting companies plan to increase their trade fair budgets, while 60 % tend to spend the same. These are the findings of a representative survey of 500 German exhibitors at trade fairs carried out by TNS Emnid and commissioned by AUMA, the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry.

In 2012, based on the latest results and despite the deteriorating economy, AUMA anticipates a slight increase in exhibitors and about the same in attendance as AUMA Chairman Hans-Joachim Boekstegers told at the association’s autumn press conference in Cologne.

According to Boekstegers and due to the global economic situation also the German trade fair industry is deteriorated as the capital goods industry is suffering from order losses. The continuing Euro crisis is also accompanied by a setback effect. The growth rates in Eastern Asia and Brazil have still a positive effect, although not as strong as in the past.

The AUMA MesseTrend, the annual exhibitor survey carried out by TNS Emnid, also gives remarkably positive figures. In Germany, 24 % of exhibiting companies plan to increase their fair budgets, only 14 % consider cutbacks. Larger companies in particular consider to spend more in trade fairs: around 30 % of exhibitors with a turnover of more than 50 million euros tend to invest more, 10 % plan to invest less, and 27 % of capital goods manufacturers, a group who frequently is present at trade fairs, plan to increase their trade fair spendings.

In particular, those companies planning to increase their trade fair budgets also aim to invest more in larger stands and in stand construction as well as in communications and services. According to Boekstegers, there is substantial willingness to improve the quality of participations.

Almost two-thirds of German exhibitors intend to remain taking part in the same number of domestic fairs as in the past. Because of the fact that 17 % plan to participate in more trade fairs and the same percentage in less, this indicates a stable number of exhibitors on the German market. Currently, trade fairs account for 42 % of B2B communications budgets, nearly the same percentage as in recent years. In the capital goods industry the figure is 47 %.

AUMA Chairman Boekstegers: “Among the industry’s various forms of communications trade fairs remain essential. 83 % of exhibiting companies consider trade fair participation to be an important or very important part of their communications strategy, the same percentage as five years ago. Trade fairs represent the main form of communications for these companies.”

AUMA has already projected the initial results for 2012. It expects exhibitor numbers at 161 international exhibitions to rise by around 1.5 %, compared with corresponding previous events (2011: +3.1%). According to Boekstegers, in view of the deteriorating economic situation these figures were better than expected. The increases in foreign participation were above average, he said. Germany’s relatively positive climate for consumers and investors had attracted foreign industry. Many companies from recession-hit countries in southern Europe also made use of trade fairs in Germany to export their goods worldwide.

In 2013, despite the economic slowdown, AUMA expects exhibitor and visitor numbers to remain more or less stable.

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