NPE 2003: International Activity Up, Attendance Down

CHICAGO, IL, USA—The timing may not have been the best, but the outcome was excellent. That's what The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. (SPI) says about the staging of its triennial plastics trade show last month in Chicago. "Although the prolonged economic stagnation that currently afflicts much of the world caused a decline in registrations for NPE 2003, exhibitors overwhelmingly reported that those who did attend were decision-makers," says Donald K. Duncan, SPI president. "These visitors came in a buying frame of mind, which indicates the start of an upward trend for the industry."

SPI says, by the end of the show, total participation was 63,238, a 29.8 percent decline from the registration record set by NPE 2000. "By other measures of trade show success, however, NPE 2003 gave strong evidence the decades-long expansion in the size and global impact of NPE continues," Duncan adds. According the plastics group, NPE 2003 achieved:

  • Greatest international involvement: The number of exhibitors that came directly from outside the US accounted for 30 percent of all exhibitors at NPE 2003, as compared to 24.5 percent in 2000. The number of home countries for these companies was 36. More than 17 percent of those registered, or 10,930 individuals, came from outside the US, coming from 109 different countries.
  • Near-record number of exhibitors: With 1,932 exhibiting companies, NPE 2003 was just 4 percent below the record set by NPE 2000 and 12 percent ahead of the previous record set by NPE 1997. The 1,018,000 sq ft (94,575 m2) of exhibit space taken by NPE 2003 exhibitors was 10.9 percent less than in 2000.

Besides the sizeable number of exhibitors and visitors from other countries, three other factors, cited by NPE 2003 chairperson H. Gunther Hoyt, contributed to the global importance of NPE 2003:

  1. Many US exhibitors actually were subsidiaries of foreign-based firms;
  2. A growing number of US-based corporations operate multinationally; and
  3. Also increasingly common are American companies that export on a systematic basis.
"While international participation in NPE first became significant many years ago," says Hoyt, "NPE 2003 demonstrated conclusively that international commerce is no longer just one dimension of NPE but its very essence. The future of this exposition is a truly global one in which NPE is the crossroads linking the plastics industries of Europe, Asia, and the Americas."

SPI reports its next plastics show is Plastics USA 2004, slated for September 28 - 30, 2004, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL, USA. NPE 2006 will also be held in Chicago's McCormick Place, June 26 - 30, 2006. Visit NPE at npe.org or The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. at socplas.org.



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