An optimistic industry and a robust trade fair year 2024
The first trade fairs of the year have already taken place and many stakeholders eagerly anticipate their trade fair calendar for 2024. Simultaneously, the economic situation in many industries has significantly deteriorated over the past few months. What outlook do initial forecasts from the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA) provide for the German trade fair sector in 2024? What is the industry looking forward to and what challenges must the German trade fair market face?
To assess the future as accurately as possible, it is worthwhile to look into the past: According to an initial estimate by the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA), Germany recorded a remarkable participation of at least 180,000 exhibiting companies and 11.5 million visitors at the country’s trade fair venues in 2023. This marks a significant increase compared to the previous year, where approximately 40,000 exhibitors and nearly four million fewer visitors were counted. The conclusion: Especially after the end of restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, international leading trade fairs in Germany experienced a significant recovery.
For the year 2024, further recovery of trade fair organizers is expected as more than 330 trade fairs are planned in Germany. These include almost 180 national or international leading trade fairs from various sectors of the economy. The year began with the international trade fair for home and contract textiles, Heimtextil, in Frankfurt am Main on January 9, as well as the European leading trade fair for the promotional products industry, PSI, in Düsseldorf. The trade fair calendar is expected to be particularly dense in the first quarter, especially in early February and throughout March, when more than a dozen trade fairs are scheduled to take place simultaneously.
A recent survey of associations conducted by the German Economic Institute (IW) revealed that most German industries anticipate a deterioration in their economic situation. However, the German trade fair industry remains optimistic: While most associations expect a decrease in investments, a large proportion of German trade fair organizers plan to increase investments, primarily in IT, digitalization, and venue and infrastructure. This is partly due to the recognition by many stakeholders of the importance of the physical trade fair as an unparalleled economic catalyst, leading them to invest in their trade fair presence.
An unpublished AUMA survey confirms: 400 surveyed companies plan to participate in a similar number of trade fairs this and next year as in the past two years, and 43 percent even intend to increase their trade fair budgets. Philip Harting, Chairman of the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA), is convinced that especially in economically weak years, the trade fair business plays a special role because: “In the face of increasing global tensions and political changes, the economy is under enormous pressure and needs its sectoral trade fairs more than ever to drive forward the transformation of economic life. The federal government is called upon to strengthen the trade fair location Germany.”
This year, the start of Drupa, the most significant showcase of the printing industry in Düsseldorf at the end of May, is particularly anticipated. It takes place for the first time since 2016, after a hiatus due to the pandemic. Also last held in 2016 was the World’s Leading Trade Fair for the Textile Care Industry. Texcare International, the trade fair for the global laundry, cleaning, and textile service industry, will open its doors again at Messe Frankfurt in early November, also after a four-year cycle.
We at TEST Hotelreservation & Events are looking forward to a promising trade fair year 2024 and are confident that 2024 will be a successful year for our industry. After overcoming the pandemic, the industry seems to be up to all challenges and is more important for national economic development than ever before because, despite all speculations, one thing is certain: Trade fairs stimulate the economy.