Drupa provided a vital stimulus to exhibitors at the virtual event

The virtual event bridged gap between its both previous and forthcoming face-to-face event

virtual event at virtual.drupa
212 exhibitors from 35 countries participating in the virtual event

Virtual.drupa made history as the first purely digital version of the leading global trade fair for printing technologies, which took place from 20 to 23 April 2021. The virtual event successfully bridged the gap between the previous and forthcoming face-to-face event in 2024. The new format of Print & Packaging Community received excellent feedback internationally, as demonstrated by the impressive final statistics.

In this virtual event, 212 exhibitors from 35 countries and team participants from global subsidiaries presented their product portfolios and innovations within the online showrooms and more than 125 live web sessions with an average of 140 participants. 

This virtual event provided vital stimuli for tapping into new potential, alongside the comprehensive conference program with an additional 130 presentations in the context of five special forums, focusing on key issues and global megatrends and their impact on the industry. Other indicators, such as a total of around 600,000 page views and 45,000 unique users, further underline this. International visitors from 155 countries made up more than 82% of the total number, highlighting that virtual.drupa has provided access to potential customers on all continents and has been adopted as a digital platform for international knowledge transfer networking opportunities.

The virtual event held to maintain contact with industrialists during Covid 

“Virtual.drupa was implemented to maintain contact within the industry during the pandemic, and the numbers demonstrate that we have achieved this,” summarises Erhard Wienkamp, COO at Messe Düsseldorf. “virtual.drupa enabled exhibitors and prospective customers to reinforce their networks, generate new leads and gather incentives for their corporate targets,” he added.

“We are delighted about the positive feedback we have received from participants,” Sabine Geldermann, Project Director Print Technologies, confirms. “The overwhelming number of global players – both in terms of exhibitors and visitors – has resulted in an industry dialogue that was particularly important during this time. The wide spectrum of target visitor groups, profiles, and areas of interest was impressive. This also applies to the exhibitors and their product portfolios along the entire value chain.” Sabine Geldermann also notes an excitement in anticipation of drupa 2024: “Many participants are already signaling that they are looking forward to this industry highlight and the live experiences.”

Innovations and knowledge transfer at virtual.drupa

The four-day program of presentations in the Conference Area and Exhibition Space offered extensive insights into the industry’s issues and challenges. They focused on four key topics: Artificial Intelligence, Connected Consumer, Platform Economy, and Circular Economy. The Conference Area was opened with four keynote speeches from high-caliber speakers: digitization expert Michael Gale, top designer James Sommerville, and sustainability strategist Gabrielle Walker. The five drupa special forums provided more in-depth details and case studies and innovative ideas for the different industry sectors: touchpoint packaging, drupa cube, touchpoint textile, 3D fab + print, and DNA – drupa next age.

In addition, exhibitors were able to show off their exciting new innovations, products, and services in the Exhibition Space and present future-oriented technologies and corporate development solutions, and answer questions around current issues in the print & packaging community during live web sessions at the virtual event.

Further opportunities to interact

Visitors will continue to benefit from virtual.drupa, with virtual meeting rooms for matchmaking remaining open on Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 April for customer and follow-up meetings. The chat function will remain open until the end of October. In addition, videos and keynote speeches will be available in the video library on-demand from next week. They will remain online until the end of December 2021, as will the exhibitors’ virtual showrooms.

Future industry events

Ahead of the next drupa (28 May – 7 June 2024), Messe Düsseldorf and its trade shows in Asia will offer a wide range of touchpoints enabling the industry to stay in touch. It includes the Print & Digital Convention, for instance, scheduled for 20-21 October 2021 at the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre.

In addition, the following events from the global Print Technologies portfolio are still on the agenda: Indoprint (Jakarta, 11-14 August), PackPrint International, and Corrutec Asia (Bangkok, 22-25 September) and PackPrintPlas Philippines (7-9 October). 

However, the drupa website will also continue to offer insights into current industry issues and solutions and offer opportunities for exchange, such as another virtual conference day planned for the autumn of 2021.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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