Trade Shows Exhibiting Some Strain
By Tom Ryan
With companies in cost-cutting
mode, trade show attendance is expected to take a major hit in 2009. Some
evidence came last week when news arrived that Apple was pulling out of
the Macworld Conference & Expo
and Quiksilver was exiting the Action Sports Retailer show.
Apple said January will
be the last time it will exhibit at Macworld in San Francisco, and its
CEO, Steve Jobs, will not deliver his legendary keynote address as he has
for the past 10 years. Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of
worldwide product marketing, will take his place.
Apple had launched iMac,
iTunes and the iPhone at the conference. But the company noted that
it has been scaling back on trade shows for years and has many other ways
to get the word out, including its stores and website.
"Apple is reaching
more people in more ways than ever before," Apple said in a statement, "So
like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple
reaches its customers."
Apple’s pullout prompted
Sam Diaz, senior editor at ZDNet, to speculate on whether the
"Internet’s next victim" would be the trade show.
"Think about the
outreach tools that companies have at their disposal these days," wrote
Mr. Diaz. "Webcasts have become online events where people from around
the globe can attend without booking a flight, hotel room or restaurant
reservations. Viral videos are being produced by companies to showcase
their products and technologies in real-world environments. Brand names
are creating loyal followings via ‘fan memberships’ on social
networking sites such as Facebook. And, increasingly, there are smaller
intimate shows that cater to crowds with specific interests – conferences
dealing with social networking, cloud computing, open source and more.
Those shows reach the audiences they want to reach and the bank doesn’t
have to be broken to participate."
Inc. is pulling its Roxy, Quiksilver and Raisins brands from the Action
Sports Retailer (ASR) show this January in San Diego, although its DC Shoes
brand will be exhibiting.
"With retail sales
off 30-60 percent, including action sports specialty, the entire market
is feeling the reverberating effects," said Andy Tompkins, ASR’s group
show director, in the statement. "This includes manufacturers and
in turn trade shows. But even in hard times, brands know to go with what
works first and for 27 years ASR’s been proven itself as the place for
brands and retailers to connect."
Is the internet reducing the need for trade shows? Is there anything
trade shows can do to become more viable? Are you planning to attend
fewer trade shows in 2009?
- Apple Announces Its Last
Year at Macworld – Apple
- What does Apple’s MacWorld
departure say about future of trade shows? – ZDNet
- January 2009 event update
from ASR – Surfer Magazine