5 Reasons Why FESPA/Graphics of the Americas is good for North America

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Apr 7, 2010

Last week FESPA announced that it is co-locating its introductory show here in North America along with Graphics of the Americas (GOA) in Miami in 2011. The co-located show will be called FESPA Americas. There are those who say, and I have been one of them, that there are already too many trade shows in the wide format business because there are North American events such as ISA and SGIA along with GlobalShop, IRgA, PMA and other trade shows that serve particular segments. Additionally there are regional shows held by publications, dealers, and equipment manufacturers. So, why would FESPA coming to North America be a good thing? I have 5 reasons …

  1. By lining up with GOA, FESPA is providing greater global access to South & Central American customers without adding a whole new show – From a manufacturers’ standpoint, the co-location of FESPA Americas 2011 and GOA 2011 provides access to more global customers and prospects. FESPA is already in 36 countries around Europe and Asia and in the west in Brazil and Mexico. If you are a manufacturer that is looking for opportunities to reach some of these regions FESPA venues can be excellent opportunities to do just that. Having attended several FESPA events in Europe and now in the United States, I can attest to the global attendees at these events. Furthermore, the statement made by SGIA, indicating that FESPA is not listening to the market by adding another trade show, rings somewhat hollow given that FESPA will run simultaneously with GOA, so it is not really “adding another show” to the wide format calendar.
  2. The convergence of segments – From my desk one of the things I know is happening in the global wide format market is the convergence of commercial print and wide format digital market segments. Whether it is because commercial printers are looking for a greater share of wallet from existing customers or responding to the slow erosion in some of their traditional business, commercial printers are entering and competing in the wide format market. On a global basis FESPA Associations have a lot of these commercial printers already as members. For equipment manufacturers that are trying to access high-end customers, FESPA has strong ties into that global commercial printing market. FESPA does a good job bringing tens of thousands of people from around the world to their major European events, they expect 40,000 visitors from 130 countries at their upcoming Munich show, so doing the same in North America presents a good opportunity for North American equipment and supplies manufacturers to reach those customers.
  3. Best practices on sustainability & textile printing from Europe – Another reason that I think FESPA coming to the United States thing is that there are aspects of the European wide format digital printing market that are more advanced than we are here in North America. By promoting some of the best practices of some of the more advanced print service providers in the European markets, particularly those that are advanced in their textile printing operations or their sustainability efforts, FESPA can help educate North American users. I’ve just returned from an event held by FESPA in North America. The event was all about innovation and how PSPs need to think of ways to innovate to drive revenue and operational performance but also to create business models that are hard to replicate and commoditize. If PSPs benefit from exposure to that kind of counsel then I think attendance at FESPA 2011 is a good idea.
  4. Reduction in FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) related to digital signage – The European market for digital signage systems is well developed, even more so than it is here in the U.S. where estimates now value digital signage at several billion dollars. InfoTrends has done some research in Europe (with FESPA) over the past several years, where we learned that the impact of digital signage has mostly been a complement to wide format digital printing. That is not our view, that is the view from European wide format PSPs. Increasing exposure to European PSPs that have been working in a more active digital signage market should reduce some of the Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt about digital signage from North American PSPs.
  5. Competition drives a more active ISA & SGIA – The people who are most likely to be unhappy about FESPA events coming to America are ISA and SGIA, the two associations that most closely match what FESPA does and the markets they serve. FESPA Americas is also earlier in the year than ISA & SGIA and in the warm weather of Miami Florida which could draw attendees from ISA and SGIA which are held during the busy Spring and Fall seasons. From a PSP standpoint, the introduction of FESPA to America should benefit them because it should spur SGIA and ISA to be more active and vibrant in performing their roles in the wide format market. Both of those organizations do a great job, but adding a dynamic organization like FESPA to the mix will force those two organizations to be better, and that is a benefit to PSPs that make up the membership and attendees at these events.

In full disclosure I have both personal and professional relationships with FESPA and some of the people who work there. InfoTrends supports FESPA’s market education initiatives with annual industry and economic surveys. InfoTrends has also worked in the past with SGIA on survey projects, and has supported the SGIA Journal and SGIA annual trade show as a writer and speaker. We have no such relationship with ISA. It is my strong belief that some of these wide format industry associations should work together to create the most effective trade show and educational opportunities possible, which I know FESPA is open to.

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