2019 Photokina Trade Show Postponed Until 2020

Ed Lee
Dec 4, 2018

On December 3, 2018, Koelnmesse, the organizers of the Photokina Trade Show in Cologne Germany, in conjunction with its conceptual sponsor, the German Photo Industry Association (PIV), announced that the transition of the previously bi-annual event to an annual event would be postponed from May 2019 to May 2020.

According to the press release, the decision was made to give all participants the opportunity to further develop the new concept for photokina and to tap into new target groups among exhibitors and visitors in order to heighten the status of the trade fair as a global platform for the photography and imaging industry.

Furthermore, Koelnmesse CEO Gerald Böse states, “We understand that even the most powerful technology companies cannot ensure that they will once again be able to bring such innovative strength to the exhibition halls as we experienced at photokina 2018 within an extremely short lead time of just seven months … It is precisely these innovations, however, that shape the character of photokina as the world’s leading trade fair – as does the presence of all the leading suppliers in the industry as well as important users, retailers and service providers worldwide.”

Frankly, this announcement does not come as a big surprise to us. At the end of this year’s show, there were concerns from exhibitors and the media about the short turnaround time between events. Some smaller vendors we spoke to said that they would not be back in 2019 because of this, citing concerns about the cost of exhibiting and the potential lack of new product announcements. For 2019, new camera and imaging product announcements are likely already scheduled for the timeframes around CES, in Las Vegas, NV in January and the CP+ Camera and Photo Imaging Show in Yokohama, Japan in March.

Another major hurdle that needed to be overcome was that as of the end of this year’s show, Nikon and Sony had not yet committed to exhibit in 2019. There is no way that a successful photography show can take place without two of the top global imaging vendors in attendance. At the time, we said that if show organizers cannot sign up the major international camera vendors and win back smaller supporting vendors, it could lose its international appeal and easily become just a European or regional German trade show.

We believe that postponing the next show to 2020 is a wise move. The delay will give organizers the extra time needed to redefine and reorganize the scope of the show beyond photography, as well as to win back past exhibitors and to sign up new imaging vendors. The Photokina trade show has been a major photography show for the last 70 years, and it would be a shame to have it end now.

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