Industry praises The Print Show as inaugural event attracts thousands of visitors
Organisers confirm 5,384 people attended the show over the three days, with exhibitors reporting heavy interest and footfall
Exhibitors and visitors alike have paid tribute to organisers of The Print Show after the first edition of the nationally-focussed event attracted 5,384 visitors in just three days.
The Print Show took place for the first time from October 13th to 15th at the NEC in Birmingham. Designed to address a major gap in the UK print market, the three-day exhibition attracted more than 130 exhibitors.
At the end of the third day, organisers revealed a final visitor count of 5,384, excluding exhibitors and daily revisits. While day one and day three both witnessed a steady flow of visitors through the doors, it was the traditional busy middle day that attracted the most interest, with 2,814 in attendance.
Reflecting on the inaugural show, event manager Chris Davies declared himself not only "pleasantly staggered" with the final visitors figures, but also "genuinely proud" of what his team had been able to achieve in just over twelve months.
"It's no secret that some members of the industry didn't think that the event would work. But if we look at visitor numbers and the type of exhibitors we were able to attract to the event, it's clear that we've hit the nail right on the head with The Print Show," Davies said.
"We wanted our event to be a true mirror of the UK's commercial print industry supply chain. Looking back at the floorplan and the types of companies we had in attendance, both as exhibitors and visitors, I think that's just what we did."
Davies concludes: "Having spoken to both exhibitors and visitors throughout the show, the amount of positive feedback we got was really encouraging. It sets us up nicely for next year, and we've already had companies that didn't exhibit this year already declare an interest in coming along to the show next year."
Organisers have also confirmed a number of companies that exhibited this year have already signed up to appear at The Print Show 2016, which will remain at the NEC and run from October 11th to 13th next year.
Prior to the end of this year's show, The Print Show announced via its Twitter feed that Konica Minolta, Grafityp, Riso UK, Signmaster Systems, Marqetspace, Perfect Bindery Solutions, So Recycle and CMC Equipment have all signed up once again to exhibit at the event next year. Organisers have also reported plenty of interest from other companies that exhibited this year over the possibility of returning in 2016.
Reflecting on the decision to sign up again, Ben Leeson, marketing communications manager at Konica Minolta, praised organisers of the show, stating that it had a "very fresh feel" about it and can only see interest in the event growing for next year.
Leeson added: "We definitely found that the guests that attended were there to buy or were serious about investing in new technology to help develop their business or organisation. We gained some very positive leads across both commercial and public sector environments and are currently working on these opportunities.
"The industry needed something new and positive that focused on the user, CRD manager, commercial print shop owner, and so on. I believe this event delivered that. Visitors seemed happy and enthused as did the exhibitors, which was great to see.
"It was very well organised by the guys at Link Exhibitions and provided us with a great platform to demonstrate to the industry the 'art of the possible'. It also acted as the perfect launch pad for the raft of new technology we're releasing to the market. We only see this show gaining in momentum and support over the following years and the fact we can aid in that success from the early stages is great."
Heavy praise from industry big-hitters
A host of other companies have also spoken of their pleasure at how the event went, including digital print heavyweight Ricoh, which had one of the larger stands in the hall. The manufacturer confirmed six signings at the show, including the sale of a Pro C9110 to KJB Print.
Marketing manager Gareth Parker said the event was "well-timed" and praised organisers for helping to create a "positive" noise about the print sector.
Parker said: "The Print Show clearly met the ambitions the organisers set at the outset. And in our mind, that meant capturing the industry's imagination, compelling printers to commit to at least a day out of their business, appeal to industry suppliers and create an innovative attitude in the sector.
"From a Ricoh perspective, The Print Show worked on many levels. Firstly, we were able to introduce visitors to our latest technology we initially previewed in 2014 at our Open House event, New Dawn. Secondly, we were thoroughly pleased to confirm a wealth of new customer announcements.
"We liked that the show was well timed, matched our current ambitions and proved popular with printing professionals across all sections of the industry. It was clear it created positive noise around the sector, which was very welcomed and added to the overall success."
Also singing the praises of the show was Ralph Barter, sales development manager at Blake Envelopes, which was based on the Ricoh stand during the event. He said: "Being part of the inaugural show was an excellent way for Blake to demonstrate our partnership with Ricoh. We were able to have some really great discussions and showcase how by using a Ricoh machine and a Blake envelope, visitors from across the print industry can generate new business leads and market opportunities.
"Personalisation was a key theme of The Print Show and we were, alongside our Ricoh colleagues, able to show how by using technology, innovation and quality products companies can help themselves stand out and drive sales activity."
Also highly complementary of the event was PrintIT!, the popular initiative run and organised by Proskills. The show played host to two schools, inviting students to take a tour of print's past at the Traditional Print Masterclasses, as well as check out the latest technology on offer from Ricoh, Konica Minolta, Vivid Laminating and Morgana.
Jonathan Ledger, chief executive of Proskills UK Group, commented: "The Print Show demonstrated the huge value that print has in the UK and certainly opened the student's eyes to the career potential that's out there. It was also a great opportunity for Proskills to talk to print companies about how best to get involved with PrintIT!."
Elsewhere, Tim Stockley of Colourbyte was very open in his praise for the event, explaining that the Epson reseller had been able to generate as significant amount of leads at the show.
He added: "Overall we are pleased with how the show went and we now have some great leads that we are dealing with. It's been manic here at Colourbyte following up all the leads that we were able to generate at the show."