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‘The number of shows makes it hard to know where to go’

When I joined the footwear industry in the mid-1990s, selecting where to show was fairly simple.

When I joined the footwear industry in the mid-1990s, selecting where to show was fairly simple.

Between GDS in Düsseldorf, Micam in Milan and WSA in Las Vegas you were guaranteed to see buyers ranging from single-store independents up to international multiples and everything in between over a period of six weeks or so.

It’s true there were other more niche and boutique shows in certain territories but these were very much the ‘cherry on the icing on the cake’.

Move forward 15 years and there has been an explosion of trade shows and they span a colossal three-month time frame. The proliferation of shows has made it difficult for brands and buyers alike to know where to go. Buyers can’t possibly visit all of them and brands simply can’t afford the time or the money to show at all of them.

Arguably this means a dilution of both brands and buyers across the extended show calendar and fewer ‘eureka’ moments.

Practically speaking, the early shows put pressure on brands to finalise collections early while the later shows put pressure on the supply chain by having to accept later orders.

Is there something to be said for less is more?

  • Dan Gyves, Managing director, footwear consultancy Calceus Consulting

Readers' comments (2)

  • Thierry BAYLE

    If I can understand and accept that there are many trade shows and putting pressure and brands and buyers, could we work out a way to optimise dates and locations.

    On occasion the shows have a focus which is different from their "competitors". It can be great to visit more than one show however if you need to travel to the other part of town, then time becomes an issue.
    If we could put them all together under one roof, would we be complaining? ... Just a dream....


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  • Shows are a bit like music festivals - i.e there are too many of them and some need to be cancelled. Back in the days before brands were run by their marketing departments, you would spend 2 or 3 days getting drunk in Olympia or Earls Court and your business would be done for the season. A good time was had by all.

    Things started to change after the early '90's recession as brands started to cut back on shows and the whole thing was re-evaluated. Should we have a show in Birmingham? If we stay in London, should it be West or East? Should we go abroad, and if so, will we still get free beer?

    Ultimately, you will never get the majority of brands under one roof (in the U.K at least) because nearly all brands think they are better than their competitors and don't wish to be seen in the same place as them, as companies are often in total denial about who their main competitors are. Until that state of mind changes, getting everyone together is about as likely as Primark selling £1000 suits.

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