Benefitting from a globally growing end-user market with high quality demands, it stands for impressive innovative power across the entire value chain. The extremely good economic state of this sector and the positive outlook for the future characterized the world’s largest trade fair for this industry and the 3,285 exhibitors (K 2013: 3,220) were extremely pleased. Companies reported a lot of new leads, with many closed deals over the eight days of the trade fair. Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Chairman of the K 2016 Advisory Board, summarized: “I have never seen such a vast number of decisive customers willing to buy at a trade fair before! The number and magnitude of deals, some of which were concluded here spontaneously, as well as the many concrete enquiries about new projects by far exceed our expectations! It was clear from day one that customers wanted to not only find out about new technologies but also purchase them. There is strong investment in all our customer industries and in all regions of the world.”
This assessment applies to all exhibit categories at K 2016. Exhibitors unanimously confirmed that trade visitors were extremely serious about their business negotiations and showed a pronounced willingness to invest. In addition, they reported a higher percentage of international visitors and their impressive professional expertise as well as a very high number of top managers and company owners coming to Düsseldorf.
A total of 230,000 trade visitors (K 2013: 218,000) from over 160 countries took part in K 2016. Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, President & CEO of Messe Düsseldorf, stated: “Just the sheer number of experts visiting K 2016 impressively confirms the appeal and importance of the trade fair – since this number is once again clearly higher than at the previous event in 2013. However, what is more important: the breakdown of trade visitors was of an exceedingly high standard. We can record a constantly good level of demand from Germany and a very high level of interest from abroad, especially from overseas. It is known the world over that K in Düsseldorf is THE innovation platform for the entire sector. A visit here is simply indispensable for everyone wanting to stay ahead of the competition.”
The results from the visitor survey support the exhibitors’ evaluation that the proportion of international guests has increased again: some 70% came from abroad. More than 40% of all foreign visitors were from overseas – including from as far-away as Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, the Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Oman, Madagascar, Mauritius, Surinam and Togo. As expected, attendees from Asia accounted for the largest group among foreign guests, which increased again: nearly 30,000 came from South, East and Central Asia. Visitors from India again made up the largest contingent but the number of attendees from China, South Korea and Iran also rose significantly.
With some 6% of all foreign visitors. the proportion of visitors from the U.S. and Canada remained stable. The U.S. was also well represented on the exhibitor side: 119 exhibitors showed their products at K 2016, including companies within the two successful US Pavilions which were organized by Messe Düsseldorf North America and co-sponsored by SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Assn.
With reference to visitors from neighboring European countries Italy dominated with over 10,000 visitors followed by the Netherlands (some 9,500), France (some 6,700), Belgium (some 6,300), Spain and Poland (some 5,000 each). There was a noticeable stronger participation from Turkey, Hungary and Greece.
Overall, the percentage of executives among the trade visitors from all countries was extremely high. Some two thirds were from the top or middle management and almost 60% have final decision making authority or are decisively involved in their companies’ investment decisions. K plays an important when it comes to investment decisions: almost half the visitors stated that they waited for the trade fair before deciding on any purchasing projects.
The trade visitors were delighted with the wealth of new technical developments presented by raw materials producers, machinery manufacturers and producers of semi-finished and technical parts. Over 70% of the visitors stated that they received information on news and trends, 60% of industry decision-makers visited the trade fair with concrete intentions to invest and 58% found new suppliers. With these new purchases attendees pursued three main objectives: expand their product portfolio, extend production capacity and increase efficiency. The results of the visitor survey also confirm the positive business condition in the downstream sectors of the plastics and rubber industries: 60% of the visitors rated the current situation as “very good” and “good” while the same percentage even expects the condition to improve over the next twelve months.
Energy, material and resource efficiency were the dominating themes at K 2016. Visitors were very interested in new materials, innovative recycling concepts, new application areas for organic plastics and additive manufacturing. Smart, quick and flexible lines and services was their main focus. Industry 4.0 dominated not only lectures and discussions but was also demonstrated hands-on at many stands. Ulrich Reifenhäuser commented: “The possibilities the Internet of Things brings stimulates strong, serious interest – especially among younger, IT-savvy customers from throughout the world. Industry 4.0 is a theme of the future that will keep us busy for years to come.” Machinery and plant manufacturing, which occupied the largest exhibit area at K 2016 with over 1,900 exhibitors, was also a main attraction for visitors: about two thirds ranked this segment first. 46% were predominantly interested in raw and auxiliary materials, while 25% were mostly interested in semi-finished products and technical parts made of plastic and rubber. Although the smaller sector of the two, the rubber industry had a highly visible appearance at K 2016 and underscored its importance in the areas of mobility, leisure, household and energy.
The K 2016 visitors came from all important user industries – from the construction, automotive, packaging, electrical, medical device technology and agriculture sectors. They all gave K 2016 top ratings: 97% reached their goal and 96% were impressed with the products on display.
Also well received was the line-up of ancillary events at K 2016, especially the Special Show “Plastics shape the future” and the Science Campus. The individual themed days of the Special Show illustrated the impact of plastics on modern living environments. The Science Campus provided an overview of scientific activities and results in the plastics and rubber sectors.
The next K staging will take place from October 16 – 23, 2019 in Düsseldorf, Germany.