30.05.17 / PacPrint 2017 / Business & Learning Make PacPrint 2017 a Success

PacPrint 2017, incorporating Visual Impact Melbourne, has confirmed itself as the region’s leading B2B market place for print, sign and display, with business transacted on the exhibition floor looking certain to top AUD $20 million and initial feedback from both exhibitors and visitors overwhelmingly positive.

“Data from both our own information sources and from our exhibitors is still being collected, however informal feedback at the close of the show on Friday indicated that the sales tally from just three of the larger exhibitors was expected to top $15 million, with others reporting strong – although as yet untallied – sales totals,” said Peter Harper, GM for Trade Shows & Publications for organisers, Visual Connections.

“Visitor numbers were down on 2013, which was not unexpected given the continuing consolidation of the industry over the past four years, but daily visitor numbers were comparable to the previous iteration, without the sharp drops seen in shows over the past decade.”

More than 150 organisations exhibited at the event, with the show’s mix continuing to change with the industries it represents. Digital technologies, automation and workflow were key themes, with a marked dominance of digital presses and wide-format technologies demonstrated on site, and – on the back of the increasing versatility of print equipment - the range of media on show was also diverse.

Fabric took centre stage on many stands, often in association with increasingly creative display systems, with plenty of dye-sub and inkjet options on show as well as direct-to-garment printing. For the sign and display sector, this was complemented with equipment and media for everything from pull-up banners to braille signage, LED and other illumination options.

Packaging solutions were also evident, perhaps more so than in recent years, and photographers and designers who visited the show were astonished at the range of options available for printed images and applications. PacPrint 2017 will also be remembered as the show where 3D print took the leap from ‘novelty’ to ‘serious’ status, with several exhibitors demonstrating proven solutions in this key area.

Increasing value for visitors was an informative and inspirational Forum and Workshop program. The final day’s program kicked off with a fascinating and challenging keynote address from film and rescue pilot and drone expert, Jerry Grayson, on the qualities of leadership, making and owning your decisions and facing disruption.

This was followed by sessions on building business potential through tenders and grants – with Ceilia Jordaan from Ichiban Commercial Solutions providing practical advice on the

competitive tender process and John MacDonald from AusIndustry outlining potential opportunities and incentives available to business through Government programs. Jordaan also ran a more ‘hands on’ session in the Workshop Theatrette, followed by David Carter from the Packaging Council of Australia, who took delegates through the Industry Values & Best Practice Program developed by the PCA and Printing Industries.

Outside the MCEC, the team from the University of Newcastle were also delighted with the response to their large-scale demonstration of printed solar panels, saying that as well as strong interest from the public, more than half the visitors who engaged with them over the four-day event were from the print and related industries, auguring well for the UON’s plan to get suppliers and print professionals involved in taking this technology to market.

The show avoided the Friday afternoon blues, with several people – from both within and outside the industry – commenting on the high numbers still in the aisles as the 4pm close rolled around, and business still being transacted right up to (and beyond) the last minute.

It was typical of the show overall, with exhibitors saying the ‘quality’ of visitors was obvious and very welcome, particularly as they were seeing not only print, sign and graphic communications businesses, but also designers, photographers and key specifiers from large retail, pharmaceutical and photographic businesses.

All, say exhibitors, were enthusiastic about making connections, gathering information and engaging in genuine discussions about how various technologies, services and consumables could benefit their businesses. This is supported by an initial breakdown of the visitor cohort, which suggests that well over half were business owners, CEOs, Managing Directors or senior managers – confirming the event’s long-held reputation as a ‘decision makers show’.

“We will learn more as we analyse our own information, and exhibitors go back to the office to tally their figures and leads from the show,” said PacPrint Chair, Adrian Fleming, as exhibitors began the task of packing up their displays, “but numbers will never tell the whole story.

“What is perhaps most pleasing is the positive mood around the industry which was so evident at the show and the appreciation from both visitors and exhibitors for the opportunity to see a range of solutions under one roof, and to connect with colleagues, partners and peers within the industry. This is where the true value of these events lies, and it was successfully delivered during PacPrint 2017.”

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