virtual.drupa made history as the first purely digital version of the leading global trade fair for printing technologies, which took place from 20 to 23 April 2021. The virtual event successfully bridged the gap between the previous and forthcoming face-to-face event in 2024. The new format of Print & Packaging Community received excellent feedback internationally, as demonstrated by the impressive final statistics.
212 exhibitors from 35 countries, as well as team participants from global subsidiaries presented their product portfolios and innovations within the online showrooms and more than 125 live web sessions with an average of 140 participants. These provided vital stimuli for tapping into new potential, alongside the comprehensive conference programme with an additional 130 presentations in the context of five special forums, focusing on key issues as well as global megatrends and their impact on the industry.
Other indicators, such as a total of around 600,000 page views and 45,000 unique users, further underline this. International visitors from 155 countries made up more than 82% of the total number, highlighting the fact that virtual.drupa has been able to provide access to potential customers on all continents and having been adopted as a digital platform for international knowledge transfer and networking opportunities.
“virtual.drupa was implemented in order to maintain contact within the industry during the pandemic. The numbers demonstrate that we have achieved this,” summarises Erhard Wienkamp, COO at Messe Düsseldorf. “virtual.drupa enabled exhibitors and prospective customers to reinforce their networks, generate new leads and gather incentives for their corporate targets.”
“We are delighted about the positive feedback we have received from participants,” Sabine Geldermann, Project Director Print Technologies, confirms. “The overwhelming number of global players – both in terms of exhibitors and visitors – has resulted in an industry dialogue that was particularly important during this time. The wide spectrum of target visitor groups, profiles and areas of interest was impressive. This also applies to the exhibitors and their product portfolios along the entire value chain.” Sabine Geldermann also notes an excitement in anticipation of drupa 2024: "Many participants are already signalling that they are looking forward to this industry highlight and the live experiences".
The four-day programme of presentations in the Conference Area and Exhibition Space offered extensive insights into the issues and challenges currently faced by the industry. They focused on four key topics: Artificial Intelligence, Connected Consumer, Platform Economy and Circular Economy. The Conference Area was opened with four keynote speeches from high-calibre speakers: digitisation expert Michael Gale, top designer James Sommerville and sustainability strategist Gabrielle Walker. More in-depth detail, as well as case studies and innovative ideas for the different industry sectors were provided by the five drupa special forums: touchpoint packaging, drupa cube, touchpoint textile, 3D fab + print and dna – drupa next age.
In addition, exhibitors were able to show off their exciting new innovations, products and services in the Exhibition Space and present future-oriented technologies and corporate development solutions, as well as answer questions around current issues in the print & packaging community during live web sessions.
Visitors will continue to be able to benefit from virtual.drupa, with virtual meeting rooms for matchmaking remaining open on Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 April for customer and follow-up meetings. The chat function will remain open until the end of October. In addition, videos and keynote speeches will be available in the video library on demand from next week. They will remain online until the end of December 2021, as will the exhibitors’ virtual showrooms.
Ahead of the next drupa (28 May - 7 June 2024), Messe Düsseldorf and its trade shows in Asia will offer a wide range of touchpoints enabling the industry to stay in touch. This includes the Print & Digital Convention, for instance, scheduled for 20-21 October 2021 at the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre. In addition, the following events from the global Print Technologies portfolio are still on the agenda: Indoprint (Jakarta, 11-14 August), PackPrint International and Corrutec Asia (Bangkok, 22-25 September) and PackPrintPlas Philippines (7-9 October). However, the drupa website will also continue to offer insights into current industry issues and solutions and offer opportunities for exchange, such as another virtual Conference Day planned for the autumn of 2021.