HP will lose a platform to meet new customers, but will Ipex lose more?
HP WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN IPEX 2014 SAYING THAT it plans to prioritise smaller and more specialist events. It will still participate in Fespa at Excel next year, but not the general print show a year later. It will not exhibit at Northprint.
The move leaves Ipex with a 1,500sq metre gap which it is confident of filling. This was already half the size of the 3,000sq metre stand at Ipex last time so represents a major U turn by the company, particularly having heralded Drupa as a major success. Ipex is not slamming the door on HP, event director Trevor Crawford is quoted saying: “With 20 months until Ipex 2014 opens its doors, a lot can happen in this rapidly changing industry and we will continue to conduct an open dialogue with HP.”
THAT OPEN DIALOGUE HAD PROVIDED SOME OF THE impetus to move Ipex from the NEC to London where HP felt the show would be better able to attract exhibitors from the creative industries, publishing and advertising that influence spending on print. However, HP faces its own issues under recently appointed CEO Meg Whitman.
The cost of attending a show like Ipex is enormous and it is always a finely judged argument about whether the cost can be justified. While HP received orders from 200 customers at the show and hailed it as its most successful trade show ever, questions about how many deals are signed purely because of the show persist.
HP IS ENGAGED IN COST-SAVING MEASURES THAT WILL trim its workforce by 27,000 positions and finds its PC business in particular under tremendous cost pressure. It has also recently amalgamated its personal computing business with imaging and printing.
It will put money into the expanding DSCOOP organisation of existing HP Indigo users, but it seems is not out to expand its reach into new customers. Whitman attended Drupa gaining an insight into the printing business and would have had a say in this sort of decision.
THE DECISION COMES AS HP’S POSITION AT THE FOREFRONT digital printing is under more pressure than ever. In sheetfed area light production machines such as those from Ricoh, Canon and KonicaMinolta provide a cost effective alternative to the smaller Indigo machines, while inkjet presses and the promised Landa Nanographic presses offer competition to Indigo’s step into B2 and packaging print.
By Ipex these machines will be ready for market, appealing to sectors like carton printing where the potential is recognised but where HP currently has little traction. Ironically Benny Landa answered a question on Indigo during Drupa saying “all technology is ephemeral”. Indigo sales continue to grow, but because of the increased competition, it will find it hard to maintain market share, albeit of a larger market. In inkjet competition to its T series machines is also increasing.
IPEX HAS COMMITMENTS FOR 70% OF THE FLOOR space for the next Ipex and would not expect to find difficulties in allocating the space that HP no longer wants. “We no longer had large blocks of space on the floor plan,” says Crawford. Nor does he anticipate a wider exodus of companies from the show. “Nobody would decide not to attend just because one exhibitor is there or not there. It is about the level of return on investment that companies come. We have a large quality international audience wanting to see developments in the industry that they will see at the show.”