ICSM Print Industry News: Trade Show Wars: Chris Davies confirms The Print Show WILL take place this September while Sign and Digital is delayed to 2022 as the battle for supremacy continues

Chris Davies of The Print Show

ICSM Print Industry News: Trade Show Wars: Chris Davies confirms The Print Show WILL take place this September while Sign and Digital is delayed to 2022 as the battle for supremacy continues

It appears the Titanic battle for supremacy in staging print industry trade shows back in 2017 between Informa’s IPEX and Print Monthly’s The Print Show was only the opening shots in a war that has continued to this day. the rivallry dated to 2015 when the Print Show emerged as the usurper to IPEX's crown.

IPEX 1993 and digital printing arrives

The fall of IPEX

Back then the market leader IPEX had been a fixture in the calendar for all in the industry since 1880 but a series of misjudgements including the switching of the venue from the NEC to London and the decline in the print industry in general saw it forced to fly the white flag. Headed by Link Publishing’s Chris Davies and promoted by Print Monthly’s editor Brendan Perring (now of the IPIA) The Print Show may have lacked heritage but made up for it with enthusiasm. when the two shows went head to head in 2017 the trade chose The Print Show and IPEX was no more.

Covid 19 has played havoc with the trade and exhibition industry forcing event after event to be pushed back 12 months and then 24 months. In the mean time the pandemic has heralded the new era of virtual exhibitions. One of the big beasts of European print and allied trade shows Drupa has opted for a virtual event next week. That was after they cancelled this year’s huge event in Germany and put the main show back to 2024. Packaging Innovations who hold major shows in Birmingham and London have also pulled this year’s events in favour rescheduling them in 2022 as have The Print Show’s main rival Sign and Digital.

Sign and Digital

That will be a relief for Chris Davies and his team as they have increasingly been seen as rivals with the trade split between supporting both or one of the events depending on the budget and market. Bucking the trend is The Print Show which this week announced against expectations by some in the business that this September’s show would take place at the NEC from September 28-30. It will also be seen by the industry as a return to normal as virtual exhibitions are not the same as the social side of trade shows and the ability to press the flesh and strike deals over a beer. As they say, ‘people buy people.’

So next year will be interesting as Sigh and Digital will be back in the spring with The Print Show in the autumn – both infringing on each other’s client bases – or so it seems. Will it become another show down between the two as happened between the Print Show and IPEX in 2017? As they say – these are interesting times.

ICSM has a large number of members in the printing and allied trades including the leading print insutry trade bodies - whose members are automatically members of ICSM.

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