Fespa’s return hailed a success

Fespa’s returning Global Print Expo has been hailed a success by exhibitors, many of which found the Amsterdam event to be busier and more successful than expected.

22 Oct 2021 | By PrintWeek Team

Some stands were packed with visitors at Fespa

While visitor numbers were not available at the time of writing for the event, which took place at the RAI exhibition centre in the Dutch capital from 12 to 15 October, the general feeling was that despite being a smaller affair than usual, the quality of the visitors that attended was up, with key decision makers in high supply.

The first Fespa event since the Munich show in 2019, due to numerous coronavirus-enforced delays, the event – co-located with speciality print and signage show European Sign Expo 2021 – attracted around 200 exhibitors, with a handful of major names absent.

Numerous Covid-safe regulations were in place, including the checking of vaccination status or proof of a negative test on the door and then wristbands required for entry, digital entry badges held on visitors’ phones via an online visitor portal, and a raft of strict cleaning and hygiene measures.

Despite this, the show felt remarkably like the Fespa of old in many ways, especially once out on the show floor. While some exhibitors said the first day felt relatively quiet, by the second day visitors were flooding the halls and on many stands it felt as busy as any of the last few Fespa shows.

With many participants unable to attend the events due to ongoing travel restrictions, Fespa also livestreamed a series of interviews with suppliers and Fespa members.

And while there was a smaller feature programme than usual, the two that were present – the Printeriors collection of bespoke interior decor applications, and World Wrap Masters Europe 2021 – the European leg of the vehicle wrap competition – were well received.

Several key themes emerged at the Amsterdam show; navigating Covid recovery – including the way that many pivoted to new applications and markets, the rise of online print-on-demand and personalised products as a result of the pandemic, the rise of industrial applications and interior decor, and the increasing use of and demand for automation.

There were also numerous launches within the burgeoning direct-to-film (DTF) printing sector, from companies including Mutoh and Promattex.

Arguably the biggest trend, perhaps unsurprisingly, though was sustainability, with many exhibitors demonstrating or discussing new or recently launched sustainable products and innovations, as the wide-format sector continues to further enhance its green credentials.

While show debuts were understandably thinner on the ground than usual – companies could not sit on their new products while they waited for the pandemic to ease – there were nevertheless a few key launches from companies including SwissQprint, Roland DG, and Durst while many others were showing products in public for the first time that they’d launched over the past 18 months.

Many exhibitors and visitors applauded Fespa’s efforts for pulling off a show of still such a large scale and one that felt in a lot of ways like previous events, particularly as many international travel restrictions and Dutch social distancing restrictions have only eased in the past few weeks.

(Courtesy: printweek.com)

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