Organisers of The Print Show have revealed that this year’s event attracted a record 5,976 attendees across three days and also confirmed the show will return to the NEC in 2019, running from September 17th to 19th.

The Print Show 2018 ran from September 18th to 20th in hall nine of the NEC, playing host to a record number of exhibitors on a show floor bigger than ever before. The switch to a larger hall proved a good move by organisers, with more people passing through the doors to see what the industry’s leading companies had on offer.

HP, Epson, Konica Minolta, Xerox (Xeretec), EFI, Hybrid Services (Mimaki) and Riso were among the top print brands in attendance, while finishing leaders Duplo International, Renz, Watkiss, Morgana, Vivid Laminating Technologies and Friedheim International also had a presence.

In addition, a number of leading technology suppliers exhibited at the event to educate visitors about their services. CMYUK, Signmaster Systems, printMAX and Grafityp were among those on the show floor.

Chris Davies, event director for The Print Show, said: “The success of The Print Show this year demonstrates how important this event is to the industry. The show is the only exhibition on the print calendar entirely dedicated to the UK print market.

“Our ethos on committing to the national market is clearly a winning formula, with attendance up on last year and sales reported across the show floor. The Print Show 2018 was a major success it sets the benchmark for future years. We are not going to rest on our laurels and we have already started work on next year’s event.”

Davies also confirmed that The Print Show will return to the NEC next year in order to keep up momentum from this year’s event. The show will take place from September 17th to 19th.

He said: “We launched at the NEC back in 2015 and it has been a good venue for us. Its central location is ideal and its excellent transport links means that it is accessible from all areas of the UK.”

Sales activity peaks on the show floor

One of the key points from this year’s show was the amount of sales deals that were signed on the show floor. This followed on from strong activity at the 2017, with Konica Minolta, Renz, CMYUK, Smart Print and Keyline among many companies that did business this year.

Konica Minolta reported a number of sales during the event, including a deal worth around £90,000 with Dekgraphics. The Southampton-based company purchased a flagship AccurioPress C6085 and an entry-level machine with long-sheet capabilities.

Renz also went away from the NEC having signed a series of deals, including an agreement worth just under £30,000 with Gilmex International on the opening day. Gilmex took a Mobi 500 from the finishing specialist in order to enhance its service offering.

Elsewhere, Smart Print signed off on a deal that saw Print Solutions order a Xerox Versant 180. Cubic Digital also dropped in on the Smart Print stand to place an order for a Xenons R180 hybrid large-format printer.

Another key moment on The Print Show was for Colourfast Financial, which became the first print company in the UK to commit to Keyline MIS. The software technology was being shown for the first time in the UK at the event.

Widespread praise from exhibitors

As has been the case at previous editions of the show, success at the event does not necessarily come down to sales deals. The Print Show is an opportunity for companies to put their new kit in front of thousands of visitors and showcase how it can help their business.

HP was demonstrating its Latex R-Series in the UK for the first time and reported heavy interest days. Richard Barham, general manager at ADAPT (Amari Digital Printing Technologies), the exclusive UK distributor of the printer, says the new machine appealed to a lot of visitors.

Barham said: “Here was something new for that market which had just seen UV, but which also knew conventional print. To suddenly see something which would produce print on board, that was very like conventional print was something totally new and it’s waking people up.”

Epson, a long-term supporter of The Print Show, was also positive about how the event can help draw in new interest. Phil McMullin, UK sales manager for Pro Graphics, says the main focus for the company was its SureColor SCS8600.

McMullin says: “What we were trying to do was inspire commercial printers to look at wide-format opportunities for incremental profit and giving their customers something extra that can produce in terms of branding or corporate display. There are some amazing profit opportunities for businesses that perhaps haven’t considered wide-format before.”

Fantastic features draw in the crowds

Away from the main exhibitor stands and in-event features at The Print Show proved a major hit. The Traditional Print Masterclass was as popular as ever, while visitors flocked to the Business Seminar Theatre and Software Training Theatre to get up to speed with the latest developments. In addition, new feature Park Life—which offered visitor a chance to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the show floor—was very well received.

There was also much praise for the Printers’ Bazaar, which allowed visitors to find out more about potential expansion areas. Simon Cox, sales specialist at Friedheim, which sponsored the Bazaar, says the feature “absolutely” worked as a concept for businesses to look into other ways of diversifying their business.

On the Specialty Print Finishing stand, Marine Kerivel-Brown, head of international marketing at Duplo, also had high praise for the feature: “We’ve had an interesting mix of visitors—printers, creatives and graphic designers—which for us is fascinating and exciting because the print designers aren’t the ones who place a request for the type of printer they’re after. So, educating them about what print can look and feel like is, we believe, very important especially when it comes to sensory coating.”