PACK EXPO International 2012 (McCormick Place, Chicago; Oct. 28–31) recorded more than 1.12 million net square feet of exhibit space and 1,965 exhibiting companies. Registration points towards a 3% increase in attendance over 2010. By all measures, the numbers added up to PACK EXPO’s strongest Chicago event since 2006, according to show owner and producer PMMI.
“All of our
measurements increased as compared to 2010,” says Jim Pittas, vice president,
Trade Shows, PMMI. “Pre-show registration was up nearly 10 percent, and we sold
out of booth space back in July.”
that attendance patterns held consistent with years past, despite travel
difficulties resulting from Hurricane Sandy. “Like most trade shows, 60–70% of
our attendance is regional. Fewer than 5% of pre-registrations were from areas
hit hardest by the storm.”
only tell part of the story, however. The activity in the exposition hall made
the show a qualitative, as well as a quantitative, success.
& Finding Solutions
had more chances than ever to delve deep into their specific industries as PACK
EXPO expanded its customer-centric approach. The show featured five pavilions
for exhibitors serving specific markets: The Processing Zone, The
Pharmaceutical Pavilion, The Reusable Packaging Pavilion, The Confectionery
Pavilion and The Brand Zone.
“The pavilion structure works in concert with
My PACK EXPO, the PACK EXPO app, keyword searches on Packexpo.com and the
Pre-Selects printed guides to exhibitors in various categories, to make
navigating PACK EXPO easier and more efficient,” says Pittas. “It’s all in
support of our primary goal: to serve our customers - the attendees.”
“vertical lounges” added a new dimension to the effort in Chicago. These
networking-oriented show floor lounges expanded from their 2012 debut in Las
Vegas -PACK EXPO introduced The Beverage Cooler lounge and reprise The Candy
Bar lounge, The Rx Lounge and The Baking-Snack Break lounge. A visit to a
vertical lounge meant connecting with attendees and exhibitors in the same
market and access to an “Ask the Expert” feature staffed by leaders from
partner trade associations. Receptions held at the close of Day Two (Oct. 29)
amplified the networking opportunities even further.
“Their success was a direct result of our partnerships with leading trade
associations and exhibiting companies. By working with our partners, we were
able to directly address their members’ and customers’ needs.”
importance of education in any format cannot be underestimated, and PACK EXPO
International was packed with plenty of opportunities to learn. In the most
traditional sense, that started with The Conference at PACK EXPO, sponsored by
As they were
for the customer-centric features on the show floor, partnerships were key to
the success of the Conference, which featured sessions from the Alliance for
Innovation and Operational Excellence (AIOE); Association for Automatic
Identification and Mobility (AIM); the Institute of Packaging Professionals
(IoPP); the Great Lakes and Midwest chapters of the International Society for
Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE); the International Society of Beverage
Technologists (ISBT); PMMI U; Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) and The
Packaging Association - PAC.
“We turned to leading trade associations to
create programming of value to their members,” says Maria Ferrante, vice
president, education & workforce development, PMMI. “It’s a very effective
model that helps us meet the attendees’ needs.”
educational opportunities spilled out onto the show floor, too, where PACK EXPO
attendees enjoyed the opportunity to ask questions and learn about new products
in PACK EXPO’s Innovation Stage theatre. Innovation Stage hosted 30-minute
presentations from 17 exhibitors over the course of the four days.
“The Innovation Stage presentations gave
attendees the chance to get an in-depth explanation of new technologies.
Judging by the number of people I saw there regularly, I’d say the attendees
found these free educational sessions to be of value,” Pittas says.
Zone brings together new ideas, materials and containers to shape winning
brands, and having Mintel and Material ConneXion there was key to achieving
that goal. With data and new ideas, both groups sparked insights attendees will
use to develop new products and packaging, fuel innovation and establish stronger
bonds with consumers,” Pittas says.
ConneXion set up shop within PACK EXPO’s annual display of award-winning
packages from around the world, The Showcase of Packaging Innovations™,
sponsored by the Dow Chemical Company. The group, which offers its members
access to a 6,500-item library, brought a sampling of the materials in its
library - many of which are not commonly used in packaging - for hands-on
assessments by visitors with the goal of cross pollination of ideas.
Teach Our Students
PMMI has an
unflagging commitment to education and workforce development, and with the help
of the PMMI Education and Training Foundation provided travel scholarships to
170 students and instructors coming out to PACK EXPO. But that’s not all. PACK
EXPO exhibitors and PMMI volunteers and staff saw to it that the students were
engaged, too. Tours of the show, led by PMMI past chairmen, gave students the
benefit of the industry veterans’ first-hand knowledge.
Next Year: Las Vegas
booths were busy throughout the show, as exhibitors and clients or potential
clients discussed real projects and exhibitors went back to the office
with solid leads.
“PACK EXPO International 2012 was definitely a
success,” says Yuska. “Traffic was strong, despite the storm, and the
exhibitors I spoke with were very pleased with the number and quality of leads
continues. Exhibitors are already planning their presence at PACK EXPO Las
Vegas 2013 (Las Vegas Convention Center, Sept. 23-25). Approximately 47,000
square feet of booth space was sold during the show in Chicago, pushing current
PACK EXPO Las Vegas space sales to over 560,000 net square feet, more than 20%
ahead of pace from 2011.
“I think it’s significant that so many exhibitors have already begun planning
and reserving booth space for PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2013. Any company that
commits to exhibit has to believe they’ll receive a solid return on their
investment of time and resources. So the exhibit sales to date speak volumes
about the quality of business that was accomplished in Chicago. They’re an
excellent indicator for success at PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2013 and that business
remains on the upswing.”
PACK EXPO International still measuring success
November 30, 2012