Industrial Fairs: What changes the Covid-19?

A few days ago, the UFI (Global Association of the Exhibition Industry) presented the results of its analysis on the direct and indirect consequences of Covid-19.

In total, more than 500 trade fairs have been affected by the virus. Some were postponed, such as METAL + METALLURGY; others were directly cancelled. Some events are still going on: ALUMINIUM 2020, for example, is still scheduled for October 6-8, 2020.

According to Kai Hattendorf, Executive Director of the association, we are facing a "growing domino effect for entire sectors". A domino effect whose first figures are quite alarming: the orders that exhibiting companies are not currently getting now are estimated to amount to 23 billion euros (26.3 billion dollars) worldwide.

Trade fairs are one of the pillars of many companies' commercial activity. Therefore, despite the fact that the UFI is one of its logical supporters, we cannot doubt the objectivity of one of the conclusions of the study: "These figures emphasize the critical importance that trade fairs play in any economic recovery: markets and meeting centers are the fastest way to boost any economic recovery".

In the last few days, there has been a proliferation of articles gathering the opinions of managers on this issue. Many are in line with the UFI's conclusions. They defend that the fairs are the occasion to know a maximum of potential clients in a minimum of time and to present their last developments.

However, this is no longer a unanimous view. The Covid crisis19 has opened the debate on the real effectiveness of trade fairs, especially in the industrial sector. One of the most repeated arguments is that since they are orders of a significant value, often the greatest commercial success is to sign something that has been under negotiation for months and that, in the end, that same act could be carried out in any other environment and conditions that do not require a comparable investment. Fairs are not cheap and many are those who doubt the return they can have in the current scenario.

The Covid19 is bringing about a real change in everything in society and this may be even more striking in the world of work. We no longer do things as usual and we will not do them again. We are learning, innovating, creating new models. In a word: redefining ourselves. It is an exercise that we all have to do… even the organizers of commercial events. It is too early to know what tomorrow's fairs will be like, but there is no doubt that it will be an improved version of what we have known to date.