Fespa Global 21 in Amsterdam in October

No Sportwear Pro, Fespa Awards at event – nor long-distance visitors

Fespa Global Print Expo to takes place at the RAI exhibition center in Amsterdam
Fespa Global Print Expo to takes place at the RAI exhibition center in Amsterdam

With the Fespa Global Print Expo, which takes place from 12 – 15 October 2021 at the RAI exhibition center in Amsterdam, the international screen, digital, and textile printing manufacturers will connect with customers after a gap of almost 18 months. According to Fespa CEO Neil Felton, there is a strong appetite for the event. 

“Feedback received by Fespa indicates a strong appetite for a Fespa 2021,” Felton said during a virtual press meet on 22 July. “Although the past year has cemented the value of virtual events, it is clear that despite the fact that these events have enabled the business to stay informed and connected with suppliers, they do not replicate the benefits of live events.” 

Felton said that with the progressive rollout of the vaccination program, easing Covid restrictions, and introducing EU digital certificates, there is more flexibility around travel, especially after September. “Fespa is taking all steps to make participants feel safe,” Felton added. 

Citing a survey done by Fespa, Felton said that 92% of respondents said that they use live trade shows as a way to research new products. Also, 83% of respondents said they intend to purchase products in the next 12 months, most likely digital print machinery, inks, and consumables.  

European Sign Expo, the leading European exhibition for non-printed signage, will again be co-located with Fespa Global Print Expo. The event, which will take place in hall 2 at the RAI, will connect signage professionals with companies specializing in channel lettering, digital signage, dimensional signage, engraving and etching, illuminated displays, out of home media, LED, and sign tools.

Strong response from the industry 

Felton said that there are 300 confirmed exhibitors, and they plan to use the event as a launch platform for their recently introduced products. Some of the exhibitors include Agfa, Canon, Durst, Kornit Digital, M&R, and Roland DG, plus gold sponsors Brother and Mimaki. The event will occupy six halls. 

“Companies have not had the opportunity to introduce their products in a face-to-face environment in over 18 months, and exhibitors are looking to showcase the products they launched in 2020 and early 2021 for the first time,” he said. 

Print service providers and sign-makers will be able to see the latest innovations in screen and digital printing, consumables, workflow, and color management solutions. Felton said that the Printeriors indoor decor showcase and Wrap Masters features, including the European leg of the World Wrap Masters competition, will return this year. However, other features such as the Trend Theatre seminar program and Print Make Wear will not be included. 

Specialist sportswear event Sportswear Pro will also not be part of the event in Amsterdam. The Fespa Awards will not happen at the show as well. 

Amsterdam is a suitable venue for Fespa 

Felton said that Amsterdam was the choice of venue because the RAI exhibition center provides a venue that the industry is familiar with, and Fespa has had very successful shows there in the past.

“We feel it is the perfect venue to bring the industry back together,” he said. 

Felton also revealed that the 2022 Global Print Expo will take place from 31 May to 3 June 2022 at Messe Berlin in Germany, spread over eight halls.

Simona Jevdokimovaite, Fespa’s head of marketing and events, said the safety of all staff, visitors, exhibitors, partners, and contractors would be the most important. She said that it is still mandatory to keep a distance of 1.5m within halls as per the Dutch government guidelines. Jevdokimovaite said that it was recommended that participants wear a face mask.

Non-EU exhibitors and visitors wary of FESPA 2021 in Amsterdam

We have spoken to a couple of Fespa regulars both in the UK and in India and they are unlikely to take part in the Fespa event in Amsterdam this. Citing the Covid-19 pandemic conditions and the day to day change in travel protocols it makes it impossible to plan such a trip and to sensibly calculate the risks. A tradition Indian exhibitors also finds it an almost impossible situation to even visit, let alone show equipment at such short notice to final dates of the event. Thus although the organizers talk about the great demand for the event, it is likely to be a smaller and more local show for EU member countries who have sorted out their vaccination passports and other regulations for travel.

(This article has been slightly edited with an editorial comment in the last paragraph on 3 August 2021.)

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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