The largest ever Propak Africa trade show took centre stage at the Expo Centre Johannesburg from 15-18 March and was hailed by all as a great success.
Visitors were able to see hundreds of leading-edge local and international companies displaying the latest products, equipment, machinery and services from the packaging, food processing, plastics, printing and labelling industries.
This year’s Propak Africa attracted the highest number of exhibitors ever. Exhibitor numbers grew substantially to 620 exhibitors from 450 exhibitors in 2013. “This also included a substantial increase in the number of international exhibitors,” says Joshua Low, Propak Africa’s Event Director. “There were 20 countries at the show, including the United Kingdom (UK), France, India, Taiwan, Turkey as well as an Italian pavilion and Chinese exhibitors, to mention just a few.”
“We are delighted that the show received such excellent industry support,” continues Low. “There was an overwhelming response to the show, despite the tough economic climate. The industry has really pulled together to make this one of the biggest and best Propak Africa’s ever.”
Various reasons contribute to the increase in numbers. From aninternational perspective, packaging is increasingly important as in Africa the sheer volume of people to sell products to is making it a very attractive market.
Good attendance from quality visitors was also recorded at the show. “We had 11,682 visitors attending the show and, despite this being slightly under the 2013 numbers, our exhibitors were very happy. We have already booked 5315m²(35% of the show) for the next show, which, considering they are booking three years in advance, is excellent,” says Low.
“To attract more visitors from across Africa this year, we ran a dedicated campaign that included negotiated discounted travel and conference packages as well as a pre-registration competition where one lucky visitor from Africa would win R10 000 towards their travel expenses to attend the show,” says Low.
Feedback from exhibitors good, with bookings in place for 2019
Feedback from exhibitors has been good, with many saying that they will be back at the Propak Africa 2019 show.
Camille Tricoire, Senior Trade Advisor for Business France, described the quality of visitors to the French Pavilion stands as being “exceptional” and some of the exhibitors have generated leads and hope to be signing contracts soon. “The show has been great exposure for our French exhibitors. When we booked for the show we had 10 stands and then requested 4 more stands – so in 2019 we’ll hopefully be even bigger!”
Bidvest Afcom’s Cliff Rostoway says this year’s show had generated a number of quality leads and that overall it has been good for them. “We are very positive about Propak Africa and regard it as the preeminent packaging show in Africa which provides a good return on investment. We have already booked our space for Propak Africa 2019.”
Acepak’s Justin Tomsett says that they conducted good business at the show with decent leads and sales. “The show also provided us with the opportunity to meet up with many of our clients. We are very happy and the show met our expectations; so much so that we have already signed up for 2019.”
Paul Brouwer of SArepco was also really positive about the show. “We showcased our digital printing machines for the first time and they generated much interest. The show produced a good audience that generated good leads for us. Propak Africa works! We will definitely be booking again.”
“We have already confirmed for the next Propak Africa,” says Rotocon’s Michael Aengenvoort. “This year we saw an increase in visitors to our stand and we met all our customers here. We also connected with a number of quality visitors from African countries such as Botswana and Namibia. This was the first time we showcased the Screen 1350 UV, a digital printing press, in Africa and this generated a lot of interest.”
Rob Franco of Graphix Supply World was also happy with the quality of visitors. “The quality of the visitors to Propak Africa 2016 has not only been good, but they have also come here with doing business in mind. The show provided us with many leads and we also did some sales. We will be back in 2019.”
“This was our best Propak Africa ever and we have been participating in the show for over 12 years,” says Gerhard van Vuuren of Nampak. “We gained over 100 leads of which at least half are good quality leads. I anticipate of these, that 25% will add up to sales. We will be looking to expand our presence at the next Propak Africa in 2019.”
USS Pactech’s Lars Frochlich says that “The long term investment into Propak Africa is a good one and it is a well-organised show. We will come back.”
Samir Joshi of Shubham Extrusion Technik CS agreed, saying that “we had a lot of good quality people coming through which enabled us to gather a number of good leads. We will be back for the next show in 2019.”
Excellent sales lead generation, increased African visitors
Many exhibitors commented on the excellent sales lead generation and also about the increased African visitor attendance.
Hestico’s Juanita Stiehlerbreits says that the previous 2013 show had been very good, but the 2016 Propak Africa was even better. “What I liked was the increased number of customers from Africa as this is assisting us to expand our business. We generated excellent leads from the show.”
Pyrotec’s Shaun Pillay used the show as a brand building opportunity. “As a brand building exercise and an opportunity to showcase our big machines, Propak Africa is the ideal event. This year’s show hosted more visitors that were decision makers and this enabled us to generate more leads.”
Polyoak Packaging’s Michelle Penlington says that Propak Africa 2016 was really good “and resulted in some fantastic leads for us.”
“What was very pleasing about Propak Africa 2016 was the number of visitors from Africa,” says Lumka Skosana of Festo. “This was very relevant to our business as we are expanding into the Continent”.
Eric Yin of Advanced Machinery (AM) says that “the Propak Africa 2016 audience responded well to our vinyl-print-cut solution that we showcased at the show and we sold our machine on day one. We saw many people and also the right people.”
“This was our fourth Propak Africa and we had access to decision makers we would not otherwise have met. Many of the visitors were very interactive,” says Courtlanders’ Anricka Breetzke.
And Nissei ASB’s Corne Pretorius says that “we sold at the show itself and we are waiting to finalise another deal shortly. It was a good show”.
Conferences, workshops and onsite competitions
Visitors to the show were also able to benefit from the onsite conferences and workshops. These provided visitors with educational content including the latest trends in packaging, legislation and regulation amongst others.
“The show saw three conferences and a seminar running as well as on site competitions and a daily newsletter,” says Low. “We also introduced some new channels into our marketing mix, such as Facebook and Twitter. For the first time we also utilised a commercial radio station, 702, to target visitors as well as regional publications to extend our reach.”
Looking ahead to Propak Africa 2019
With many exhibitors already booked for Propak Africa 2019, Specialised Exhibitions Montgomery has unveiled what’s new for the next show.
“We will expand on the profile of the show covering the cradle to cradle process from raw materials/ingredients and components to printing, transport, logistics and warehousing and the recycling element,” says Low.
“In this way the show will represent the entire packaging supply chain as it represents services and products from across the whole spectrum. We had a number of recycling companies exhibiting at the show this year, but we are aiming to expand on this for the 2019 event.”
Leatitia van Straten, Marketing Director
Specialised Exhibitions Montgomery
Telephone: +27 (0) 11 835 1565