Medica is a huge trade show that fills 17 large exhibition halls with 6,000 companies exhibiting, and maybe 25,000 staff manning these stands.
It can take all of the 3.5 days the exhibition runs for to walk round all the halls and aisles. We had a small stand in Hall 17 partially subsidised by DIT and organised by MediLink. This was my first year back to Medica after a two year absence, but I have attended most of the 20 years before that. Medica is usually incredibly busy, but this year, numbers of visitors seemed to be well down, and if you look at the pictures below, that is reflected in the number of sales guys peering down at their smart phones to relieve the boredom.
Exhibitions go by far quicker when you are busy all day, but they drag on if you are not having a series of interesting conversations with potential customers. I hate to think of the costs to the businesses who had each flown in maybe 20 staff to man their stands, with country specific areas from Korea, Japan, China, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Brasil etc. My gut reaction is that Dusseldorf is killing the show by making costs prohibitive for distributors, looking for new products, to fly in for multi night stays with hotels costing £300 a night upwards. These SMEs now seem to fly in for one day, talk to the companies they are already dealing with, and fly out in the evening.
Even the evenings in the Alt Stadt (Old Town Tourist District) were way down on people from previous years. Usually you have to queue to get into restaurants and bars, but not this year. The place seemed very quiet.
We did gain some leads to follow up; but I am not sure any company got real value for money in 2019. I have already advised our Chairman that we will only attend RehaCare in Dusseldorf next year, as Medica no longer feels like a good investment for our limited marketing budget. I think the big players in our industry like Invacare, Sunrise, Arjo etc didn’t book stands this year, so maybe it has dropped in importance for most of the Assistive Technology market?
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