Aussie virtual show closes with 13,500 visitors
The industry’s first virtual trade show has closed its doors, with a visitor tally of more than 13,500 far exceeding the expectations of show organisers, Visual Connections, which opened the show on 1 June.
The organiser said the high number of visitors, for what was the world’s first virtual trade show, proves industry businesses are still in the market for new ideas and innovations.
Peter Harper, CEO of Visual Connections, said that fact – above all else – is probably the most positive outcome of a show which exhibitors report generated hundreds of enquiries and a number of solid sales, particularly in consumables orders.
The Print, Sign, Display & Graphics Virtual Trade Show was always a calculated risk for Visual Connections, Harper said, but given the dearth of trade shows due to Covid-19 it was one of the only options available to the supplier association to deliver on their mandate of supporting the industry through expos, events and networking.
“Interruptions to the normal trade show circuit left industry businesses without that vital opportunity to connect and explore innovations and solutions for the future,” Harper said.
“We felt it was important to create a platform that would benefit both suppliers and industry businesses, in a market where many – like us – have needed to review and rethink their options to survive and thrive.”
The company attracted 25 exhibitors with the courage to commit to the online format with information, video content and quick-link connections. Their stands were complemented by an Awards showcase from Asga and Fespa Australia, a go-to resource pointing to PacPrint 2021, and a virtual seminar theatre featuring a full programme of 27 sessions.
While the final stats are still being analysed, Harper said the overall visitor numbers – 13,509 to be exact – far exceeded the expectations of the Visual Connections events team and demonstrated that virtual content has a real role in bridging market gaps and, potentially, in expanding the reach of traditional trade shows.
“In the shorter term, we’re already looking at a second show, focused on the label and packaging sector, and of course looking forward to transitioning back to physical shows, with PacPrint planned for Melbourne from 28 September to 1 October next year,” Harper said.
“By then, we are confident that travel restrictions will be eased, confidence will be returning, and the market will be ripe for an in-person event – in fact, we believe this PacPrint could potentially be the most important we have ever run.”
As the first physical expo for two years, it could indeed be a bumper edition of Australia’s leading show, timed to feature new releases from drupa and Fespa, and updates from LabelExpo, which is due to precede PacPrint by about a week.
“The success of the Virtual Trade Show, and the way it has been embraced by businesses, demonstrates that our sector is still looking to the future,” Harper said.
“Whether online or in person, we’ll continue to provide the information, ideas and connections they need to build their success.”