The Expo Industry in South Africa: An Insider's View
By: The Lime Envelope
One of the most recent events, Vodacom rAge, is a perfect example of the extent to which likeminded people will turn out in support of an event that plays to their unique interests. Several exhibitors reported that they did so well, they had run out of stock by day three of the event.
Exhibitions are focused marketing opportunities that bring your target market to you and allow you to network with your audience for ongoing sales. They're fostering niche pocket economies everywhere.
It's not just the big exhibitions that are doing well. Smaller-scale exhibitions are also seeing an increase in attendance. For example Mediatech Africa, attracted 7525 visitors in July this year – a six-percent increase over last year.
Having attended many varying exhibitions myself, as an industry professional and exhibition enthusiast, I can confidently say that we're in a business that's growing every year. Trade shows, conferences and exhibitions contribute to the local economy, boost tourism and enhance South Africa's GDP.
The common denominator, whether you're at Africa Health, Discop Africa or Vodacom rAge, for the most part, is the positive energy you encounter as you wander between the stands and showpieces at most South African expos and shows.
The Rand Show in April this year completely changed lives with a local entrepreneur making a whopping sale of over R500 000. And it's a testament to the fact that destination shows can provide a captive audience for exhibitors. In this case, it was the Rand Show's dedicated SMME section, activated by the South African Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. And I'm sure we can expect many more stories like this one to come.
New tools and technology are making the exhibition business more exciting than ever before.
Mobile technology is becoming more and more prevalent every year, with just about every big expo having its own dedicated app to help guests navigate their event and stay up to date with any panels, showstoppers or press events that are scheduled during an expo.
Digital design and the advent of technologies such as 3D printing have made stands easier to create, set up and strike, not to mention more appealing to the eye than ever before.
At the time of writing this, having seen the faces of the people in the crowds at the likes of the Rand Show and more, exhibitions are still putting smiles on faces. And every year, they just get bigger and more advanced.
Mr Craig Newman, CEO, Johannesburg Expo Centre
The Lime Envelope