K 2013, the plastics and rubber trade show held October 16-23, in Dusseldorf, Germany, exceeded the expectations of companies from this sector, according to results of visitor surveys. Exhibitors reported numerous project inquiries, intense negotiations with trade visitors from throughout the world and a strong number of business deals, several of them said to be worth millions of dollars.
Ulrich Reifenhäuser, chairman of the exhibitors’ Advisory Board, was extremely pleased with the results: “We had not expected visitors’ willingness to invest to be this high. The many innovative products and applications introduced in Düsseldorf met with great interest from trade visitors. And the innovations were not just admired but many, very concrete negotiations were held and contracts were signed. Many customers are extending their capacities and are investing in new technologies to sharpen their global competitive edge. We very confidently anticipate strong post-fair business and expect continuing growth in our sector.”
Some 218,000 visitors from more than 120 nations attended K 2013. The trade show’s more than 3,200 exhibitors included raw material producers, processors and machinery manufacturers from 59 countries. They agreed with Reifenhäuser’s observations and also noted the increased internationality of the visitors and their expertise, as well as the high number of top managers in attendance.
Attendee survey results also support the perceived rise in international participation: 58 percent (126,000 visitors) came from abroad. Almost half of all foreign visitors travelled from overseas—from as far away as Angola, Burkina Faso, the Falkland Islands, Yemen, Malawi, Nepal, New Caledonia, Oman, Peru and Turkmenistan. As expected, the proportion of attendees from Asia accounted for the largest group of foreign visitors: some 30,000 came from South, East and Central Asia, as well as from the Near and Middle East. Visitors from India comprised the largest group, while the number of trade visitors from China, Indonesia, Iran, Japan and Taiwan rose considerably. The number of visitors from South Africa also increased to around 2,000.
The proportion of show attendees from North America also rose: some 8,100 visitors were from the U.S. and Canada—1,300 more than at K 2010. On the exhibitor side, 115 U.S. companies showcased their products, 38 of them within the two U.S. pavilions that were organized by Messe Düsseldorf North America and co-sponsored by The Plastics Industry Trade Association.
Some 11,000 visitors at K 2013 were from Latin America, mostly from Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia. Among neighboring European countries, the Netherlands dominated with 8,000 visitors, followed by France, Belgium, Great Britain and Italy. There was also a noticeable rise in interest from Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
Overall, an above-average number of visitors with management positions participated in K 2013, with about two-thirds reporting top or middle management roles. More than 50 percent of these attendees claimed to play a decisive or co-determining role in their companies’ investment decisions.
Solutions for saving resources and energy efficiency dominated many of the product launches at the show, and the sector as a whole is challenged by the request to manufacture products in an environmentally friendly yet cost-effective way. Machinery and plant construction, the largest exhibiting sector at K 2013 with some 1,900 exhibitors, was also the focus of visitor interest. According to the survey, about 2/3 of all visitors came to gather information on the innovations in this sector. Exhibits by raw and ancillary material producers were the key interested for 42 percent of the trade visitors, while 22 percent were mainly interested in semi-finished goods and technical components made of rubber and plastic. Visitors came from virtually all key user sectors: building, vehicle construction, packaging, electrical and medical engineering, and agriculture industries. A total of 96 percent of survey respondents gave K 2013 high ratings and confirmed that they fully achieved the goals of their visit.
The next K trade fair will be held in Düsseldorf in 2016.