Over 90% of respondents to a study conducted by Messe Frankfurt Tradefairs India affirmed that tradefairs enable them to touch and feel the product, as well as to build a relationship with the seller, all key factors for making an effective purchase decision.
According to the survey, of more than 1,000 professionals across the country during June and September 2020, those who held off purchases are no longer doing so because of cash flow issues - a prime consequence of the pandemic in the earlier months - but rather because they can't find the right suppliers.
The study covered a range of industry sectors from the automotive, textiles, building technologies and consumer goods, showing that 88% of respondents relied on exhibitions to help them with their purchase decisions.
While there has been a strong shift with regards to the purchasing behaviour from June (53%) to September (63%) with a rise of 10% in purchasing activity, most buyers cannot find the right suppliers while others cannot find stocks (12.97%), cannot import (13.81%), as per company policies (20.08%), or would like to wait for exhibitions (24.27%).
Even as other sourcing alternatives such as online events, webinar and WhatsApp are picking up, 59% buyers are finding it difficult to make purchasing decisions during Covid-19. As purchasing activity has increased across the board, willingness to attend exhibitions also saw an increase with respondents looking at visiting the next exhibition “as soon as possible” registering the highest increase of 10 percentage points.
Messe Frankfurt Tradefairs India says that, in such a context, the exhibition industry ise set to become much more significant in terms of rebuilding customer connections, supporting the exchange of knowledge and technology, as well as restoring business continuity and growth in the economy.
Messe Frankfurt has been strongly focusing on developing standard protocols and a framework for enhanced measures for hygiene and safety at its exhibitions and conferences in India.
The study also revealed that, while only 16% of respondents attended online exhibitions in June 2020, this trend quickly shifted to 29% in September 2020. Raj Manek, Messe Frankfurt Tradefairs India MD said: “Technology will play a significant role in enhancing the experience of physical exhibitions in future, so as organisers we are using this as an opportunity to build our digital tools more rapidly and open up new avenues for business that can intelligently complement our existing tradeshows.
“The survey results also go on to show the crucial role exhibitions can play in enabling Indian businesses to find right sourcing partners amidst the current environment and more so in the post-Covid era,” Manek added.
“We strongly believe that business relations and personal encounters at exhibitions will be irreplaceable, but offering a hybrid platform will become a standard feature at our physical events, so that we continue to enable our customers to expand reach and transform virtual connections into face-to-face interactions.”
Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest tradefair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. The Indian subsidiary, with a portfolio of 20 tradefair brands, including LED Expo (Mumbai & Delhi), Light India, Media Expo (Mumbai & Delhi), Techtextil India, and ACMA Automechanika New Delhi.
Globally, Messe Frankfurt has ‘restarted’ exhibitions with the opening of Intertextile Shenzhen Apparel Fabrics and Yarn Expo in July 2020 in China and the Summer Nordstil in September 2020 in Germany.
The government of India has issued new guidelines under the ‘Unlock 5.0’ strategy', allowing B2B exhibitions to resume with effect from 15 October 2020, with new SOPs as issued by Department of Commerce.