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A New Standard For Wide Format Events In Turkey

FESPA as an organisation differs from other event organisers. We are a community orientated, member-owned, not-for-profit organisation. Our community is made up of printers, and we exist to support them, not to generate profit for shareholders.

Michael Ryan

Group Exhibitions Manager, FESPA

We’re thrilled with the success of the first FESPA Eurasia. It was a lively show with busy exhibitor stands across the three days. For me, it absolutely reinforced our perception of the dynamism and creativity of the Eurasian region.

My focus here at FESPA is on establishing our developing market events, and it’s a role I’m passionate about, because I can see first-hand the way that a market’s enthusiasm and appetite for innovation and learning comes to life at a FESPA show. We were thrilled with the visitor attendance from Turkey and surrounding countries at the launch show, and with the incredible support and encouragement we received from the industry.

From our perspective, and that of our exhibitors, FESPA Eurasia 2013 set a new standard for wide format printing and signage events in Turkey. The event attracted almost 7,000 unique international visitors – this is individual attendees excluding re-visits and exhibitors – from 98 countries, which we are delighted with for a launch event, and positioned this as a truly regional exhibition.

26% of visitors travelled to the show from outside Turkey, with the most significant visitor groups coming from Bulgaria, Iran, Greece, Russia, Pakistan and Ukraine. Notable visitor groups also attended from the UK and Germany.

What’s really exciting is that 73% of visitors were attending a FESPA show for the first time. Of course, the visitor profile to our main European shows is extremely international – London 2013 attracted visitors from 125 counties. But this statistic from Eurasia 2013 proves unequivocally that by taking the FESPA brand out into developing markets, we extend our global community and make it possible for printers to participate in our events who would not be able to commit to attending an event in Western Europe.

Highlighting opportunity

The Eurasia region is a hub of opportunity for wide format printers – with so much growth in retail, hospitality, tourism, leisure, property and so on, the future is very bright for those who are embracing technology positively and optimising processes.

For me, it’s stimulating to see the continuous development that takes place in an emerging region such as Eurasia. FESPA Eurasia was a destination event for printers wanting to explore new possibilities, and new technologies.

I think this is where a show such as FESPA Eurasia is a positive influence in the region. We continue to showcase conventional processes which the region is familiar with, as well as opening up new opportunities for printers to further develop their offerings, supported by knowledge and experience gained by printers in other regions and shared through FESPA. Our global perspective – drawn from our community – helps PSPs in developing markets to stay abreast of trends and evolving customer demands in other regions, and to use this intelligence for their own benefit.

Focus on innovation

Talking to visitors in Istanbul, I perceived a general mood towards investing in higher quality equipment from major global manufacturers. Many printers seem to have taken their first steps in digital using low-priced solvent machines, often from Asian manufacturers, but are now looking for greater performance stability and output quality, which they are seeking from established global suppliers with robust technology and strong after-sales support infrastructure.

Visitors were delighted to have the opportunity to engage with international manufacturers of the calibre of Fujifilm, HP, Roland and Zünd. The decision by Fujifilm to showcase its Onset printer was a first for a show in Turkey, highlighting the importance for printers in the region of having access to principal manufacturers at regional shows. Mixed with a strong balance of direct participation of local companies, this meant that we were able to provide a compelling event for the regional audience, which was what we set out to do from the start.

Ready to invest

The technology on show certainly seemed to work up an appetite for investment among our visitors. Our at-show registration process illustrated that 68% of visitors had overall purchasing responsibility. Indications were that the average budget for investment in wide format printing equipment or materials in the next 12 months was Euros 225,550, with 44% of visitors planning to invest within six months. These are positive signs for FESPA, Turkey and the wider Eurasia region, and of course good news for exhibitors.

That was reflected in the positive feedback we received from exhibitors we spoke to at the show. Fulya Kaplan, Sales Engineer at Fatih Tekstil affirmed the show’s role in setting a new benchmark for print industry events in Turkey. He exclaimed: “I’ve been in the business for 25 years. It’s one of the best exhibitions I’ve ever been to, as a visitor or as a participant.”

Nurten Ergün, Company Director of Reggiani distributor BTC, agreed that FESPA is now the best show in the Turkish market, and was expecting to sell ten units of their flagship machine on display at the show.

Marc Van Braekel, Regional Sales Manager/GS Sales Direct Export, Agfa Graphics, told us that FESPA Eurasia was by far the best show he had personally experienced in the region in recent years. He commented that, as a launch event, it was handled in a perfect way and his observation was that FESPA’s enthusiasm was clearly felt.

Andrea Negretti, d.gen’s Worldwide Business Manager also commented on FESPA Eurasia’s place in the Turkish market: “The market is growing, quality expectations in Turkey are growing. It’s an exciting market. I think this year Turkey is the best market in Europe and it’s very good that FESPA has come here. People are looking for something new, something different, and FESPA is introducing a new style of doing shows.”

Ekrem İşcimenler, Sign and Display Manager (Turkey, Greece and South Africa), HP, commented: “FESPA is an international organisation. Lots of visitors come to the show from all around the world. FESPA creates a  connection between our customers and machine producers, and maximises the knowledge circulation between them, that’s why FESPA is very important for HP.”

Scott Walton, Head of Sales at Kaspar Papir, exhibiting with partner Tekiner Ltd said: “The primary objective for us is to build brand awareness and brand recognition across key emerging markets. The FESPA events serve as a wonderful platform for us to network and widen our exposure and launch new products. Without FESPA, we’d probably have to attend four or five different trade shows across Europe to get the same kind of visitor footfall and international coverage that FESPA attracts in one show.

“The FESPA Eurasia exhibition 2013 was very well supported by the key manufacturers and suppliers to the digital print industry, offering up an innovative insight into the future of digital printing to what proved to be a very strong attendance of print shop professionals, sign makers, fashion houses and textile decorators.”

Textile and garment

Scott’s observation about the strength of the textile printing audience was certainly reflected in my own experience of the event. Turkey is well known to have a vibrant textile and garment sector, and this was visible through the high level of interest in textile printing equipment and consumables. Digital textile and sublimation printing was seen throughout the exhibition, in particular for the home furnishings and textile markets. As expected, screen printing was also well represented; in fact, FESPA Eurasia was the first real screen printing exhibition in Turkey.

Digital textile is also taking off – not only in garments where Turkey is the number 2 supplier in the EU (Ministry of Economy, Republic of Turkey). The amount of equipment sold at the show suggests that digital textile is set to boom in Turkey and the wider Eurasia region. According to exhibitors, UV printer sales are on the rise and the larger machines which we traditionally associate with customers in Western Europe are now being installed throughout the region, as print companies look to grow their businesses and improve production. Our Garment Central feature in Istanbul also received a positive response. Here visitors could attend hands-on workshops looking at trends in garment decoration and screen printing, guided by industry expert Charlie Taublieb and Samir Sadıkoğlu.

In the run-up to FESPA Eurasia I spoke with Samir Sadıkoğlu, chief operations manager of garment manufacturer European T-shirt Factory (ETF) – also named Turkey’s top printer at FESPA 2013’s Hall of Fame – about the show and the garment market. Samir highlighted that, where the Turkish market traditionally served mostly European countries, he’s now seeing business from further afield, including customers from Russia, Pakistan, the Middle East and the Balkans. That would seem to be reflected in the broad visitor attendance to the show. With this greater geographical reach, Samir highlighted that the differences in culture and fashion trends across regions creates a need to develop a more diverse offering.

FESPA is different

Hearing directly from printers and manufacturers in our developing regions is key to making our events relevant and appropriate to their needs and issues. Our Eurasia exhibition team has spent the last 11 months visiting Istanbul and meeting with stakeholders in the region. Seeing them again at the show, and hearing their positive feedback about the event, strongly reinforced the importance of FESPA’s unique approach to events.

FESPA as an organisation differs from other event organisers. We are a community orientated, member-owned, not-for-profit organisation. Our community is made up of printers, and we exist to support them, not to generate profit for shareholders. Through our events team, our board members and our associations, we are ingrained in the industry and know the trends and challenges, not just from the manufacturer’s perspective but also from the printer’s. This enables us to monitor global developments, which we use in the planning of our events.

Our visitor features and educational content play a big part in making FESPA events what they are, and it was great to see these well received in Istanbul. Our Turkish member association, ARED, held a sign workshop which was busy throughout the show. The car wrap area also looked superb, with visitors taking part in hands-on vehicle wrap training on Mini Coopers, possibly one of the most photographed aspects of the show!

Investing in Eurasia

Our conversations in Istanbul have given us a clear feeling for the areas where printers in Eurasia need FESPA’s education, knowledge sharing, training and guidance on best practice.

Growth here is rapid, and printers are particularly keen to diversify out of sign and graphics applications into more ‘industrial’ opportunities, a trend which has shaped our community in Europe over the last few years.

Of course, in the graphic and sign markets, there are growth opportunities too. Printers and manufacturers tell me that a lot of print is still finished manually, and installation takes too long as the infrastructure is not in place. This points to an opportunity for FESPA to share our knowledge with printers about workflow optimisation, finishing and installation techniques, to enable them to offer a more comprehensive, quality service.

It’s clear that screen printing will continue to develop, with printers deploying more automation throughout the whole process. In parallel, more Eurasian printers will start to look at combining both screen and digital print technologies to expand their business offering.

Overall, the region’s printers are keen to learn and improve their skills.

This is where our Profit for Purpose programme will come in. This uses funds generated by our events to develop specific educational and networking initiatives for our global printer community. We certainly intend to build on the success of FESPA Eurasia and reinvest into the market to help printers here improve their businesses.

Next edition

Launching a FESPA show in a new region is an exciting challenge. In the process we build market knowledge, nurture new relationships, assimilate an understanding of the issues for the region’s printers, and build an event that meets their needs, without losing the essence of what makes a FESPA event.

Having the support of the sector and our Turkish association ARED has played a big part in the success of the inaugural FESPA Eurasia. It enabled the team to build strong relationships with the Turkish market, in the same way that we have done in Mexico, Brazil and China.

Coming away from this event, we have the sense that the opportunity for printers in the Eurasia region is enormous and that FESPA – as a global organisation with our focus on sharing knowledge and best practice – can play a valuable part in the sector’s growth.

We will be actively developing our relationships and activities in the market on an ongoing basis and look forward to seeing how it evolves during the year until the next FESPA Eurasia, which will run from 27 – 29 October at the CNR Expo, Istanbul, Turkey.

We’ve already identified a number of aspects of the event which we will develop and improve for 2014, and we’ll be delighted to come back even bigger and better in twelve months’ time.

Meanwhile, we’d love to hear from Matbaa & Teknik readers who visited FESPA Eurasia 2013, and hear your thoughts on how we can ensure next year’s event addresses your needs and interests. Get in touch with the FESPA Eurasia team in Turkey at