The Very Last drupa Article (Maybe)

Frank Romano
Jul 11, 2016


The show is over. The exhibitors have left the buildings. The pundits have chimed in. drupa 2016 is now history.

The every-3-year cycle idea was quashed and we are back to the 4-year cycle. I remember when it was every 5 years. So, we will all meet in 2020. Well, maybe all of you. I may be 79.

Frank was one of six journalists honored for attending 10 or more drupas

Frank was one of six journalists honored for attending 10 or more drupas

Sales statistics were impressive—big orders, big bucks. Every exhibitor sold something. No one does a total, but my guess is that there was over half a billion dollars in business.

Add in the cost of just being there. Dusseldorf hotels jack the price to usurious levels. My hotel (Holiday Inn Express) went from 60 Euros to 350 Euros. But AirBnB and other websites found lots of less expensive housing. My hotel was not filled, nor were many of the others. Exhibitors spent a fortune on housing, transportation, logistics, and, of course, their exhibits.

Put a value on the public relations. Graphic communication media from all over the world were there—plus analysts and consultants and other industry hangers-on. I attended 31 press conferences, 9 briefings, and 12 one-on-one meetings. Sure, some of the smaller exhibitors got lost in the crowd but the PR exposure was tremendous. I was in an exclusive group of six journalists who had attended 10 or more drupas.

Add it all up and I think it puts the drupa value close to a billion dollars.

The billion dollar drupa, if you will.

Why is drupa so big? (Even though it was smaller than the last one.) First, there is its immediate market: Germany and the European Union. Plus Russia and the UK. It is a gigantic printing market. When I was in Australia, Brazil, and India, I asked the groups for which I made presentations if any were going to the show. Most of the hands went up.

The US PRINT show does not get that level of international attendance. It does not get the media attendance. Few exhibitors bring their really big iron. And dealing with McCormick Place personnel is like dealing with the Taliban, even though there were negotiations a few years ago to lessen the burden.

Plus, PRINT comes close to drupa timewise so many exhibitors feel that they have already gotten the exposure from media and major buyers so they downplay their presence.

Printing shows in China and all of Asia are growing. This will impact all other international shows, including drupa and PRINT. (Notice that drupa is all lowercase and PRINT is all caps. This could be the subject of a Master’s thesis.)

All in all, it was a most exciting event. But I said that about drupa 1972 as well.

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