IMTS 2022 – From The Front Lines

By Ted Dieck | Shows & Trips - Notes - IMTS | Oct 3, 2022

Last week, I shared positive reports from IMTS 2022 organizers.  However, the show’s exhibitors may remember things a little bit differently.
I’m guessing bad location, lost momentum, and deepening recession all took a toll. 

A very good friend was kind enough to share his picture of IMTS, from an exhibitor’s point of view. 

We can be sure the event organizers put their best spin on the show.  I can’t blame them for that. 

But exhibitors that paid the bills may have wanted something better.  

Here’s what he’s seeing… 

Exhibitors Didn’t 

There’s a difference between signing up to be in a show and actually presenting. 

I can’t easily verify the scary number of exhibitors that pulled out.
If the numbers shared with me were at all accurate, the percentage that didn’t participate had to be alarming.  

Going into the big Opening, it seems the floor plan was modified in important ways.  It was good news for the exhibitors that did show up and paid the huge front money.  Reorganizing the show upgraded some participants to preferred high-traffic locations.  

That had to be nice. 

Wrong Attendees 

Apparently, the attendance numbers were strong, but the quality of visitors was low. 

Now, I’m sure these visitors were all fine individuals, but the evidence is they weren’t — and never would be — buyers. 

Leads returned from the show suggested that major corporate figures decided not to attend, giving their tickets to employees who had, perhaps, never gone before. 

As a result, the lead count was high, mostly from people impressed with what they saw, and with no authority to do anything about it.  That made for a whole lot of “call my boss” responses. 

Possible Causes

Part of anyone’s decision not to attend could have been the show’s location.  Chicago was once a great convention town.  Not anymore.  It’s dangerous and expensive.  Let’s just leave it at that. 

Continuity might also be a problem.  IMTS only meets once, every other year.  Throw in a COVID cancellation, and this is the first IMTS presentation in four years.  Are people attending out of urgency?  Or are we just remembering the good old days? 

And, the biggest factor of all had to be the recession.  I discussed that threat several times last week.  I’m guessing that companies trying to stay in business are well aware of government policies designed to kill business.  Supply lines are so screwed up that sales numbers are down, purely for inability to deliver.  

It’s entirely possible that key purchases were made outside of the show. 

Otherwise, maybe the fun of showing up to see new stuff and drop millions of dollars on swell innovations didn’t really fit in today’s atmosphere.  -TD