Eleven hundred Indians attended the last Ipex according to the organisers, IIR. Also according to the organisers more than 2,000 Indians have registered on-line for the fair this time. However on the basis of our talks with some of the printers and manufacturer’s Association’s that are involved in the group tours, it is expected that about 600 to 700 will attend the fair this time. Several of the tour groups are as small as 25 to 30 and one is claiming 150. Our own estimate is that the total figure of Indians at Ipex including exhibitors and agents and printer visitors and the strong media contingent would be between 625 and 800 this time.
The poll Ipex poll on our website has not really attracted much traffic. Of the valid responses (we have taken out the repeats from the IP address) almost 71 per cent say they will attend while just over 15 per cent say they won’t with almost 4 per cent in the may be category. As we have been writing over the past year, exhibitions everywhere are under intense pressure and while one view is that they are a great opportunity to learn (a view that we agree with) the other view is that they are losing some of their importance. This is echoed by almost 10 per cent of the respondents to our poll.
Improved and specialised exhibitions in India and elsewhere are slowly eroding the importance of the big international exhibitions. The print industry’s precipitous decline in the developed countries has not helped either with many exhibitors scaling down their effort by not showing running machines which was the hallmark of the big print exhibitions. ‘Perfect competition’ and consolidation are in the air.
Ipex was the largest English language print show but now the largest English speaking print industry in terms of business units (not yet in turnover) is in India and thus Indian industry is presented with an opportunity to replace Ipex if they dare to get their act together. Unfortunately the likelihood of this is not too great judging from the present situation and level of discussion between the AIFMP and IPAMA the printers and manufacturer’s associations respectively. We are still in the clutches of the three-cornered blame game – quasi-government organisations, associations at loggerheads and private organisers.