After Elinchrom Drops out of Photokina, Will Others Follow?

After Elinchrom Drops out of Photokina, Will Others Follow?

It was announced last year that Photokina would take place every year instead of every two years. However, it seems like not every brand embraced this change and some of them, such as Elinchrom, have decided to drop out of the show.

Photokina is known as one of the biggest photography tradeshows worldwide. It used to take place every two years in Cologne, Germany. While it is a great place for photography lovers to put their hands on new gear they can’t find anywhere else, it is also a place for brands to talk with all the major actors of the industry: distributors, other brands, brand ambassadors, etc. However, each event has a cost, and according to some brands, Photokina is not cheap by any means. It is an investment.

After the decision to make Photokina a four-day-long annual rendezvous, rumors started to flow on the web that some brands would follow the steps of Phase One and drop out of the show altogether. Last week, the first confirmation of those rumors came from Elinchrom, who announced they would "take a breather from Photokina." The CEO of Elinchrom, Simone Whittle, stated that this break would help them analyze and refocus on what matters to its customers. The Swiss flash manufacturer has thus decided to not to take a booth for the upcoming edition. However, it’s not clear if we will see them again starting in May 2019 for the annual version of the show.

It’ll be interesting to see if other brands decide to do the same. Other photography websites had mentioned Profoto and Canon may do the same, but the rumor has since been refuted by Photokina. As Photokina is now a shorter show (four days instead of six) and the number of halls is also getting reduced by half, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see smaller actors of our industry gone from the show. One can only wonder if Photokina will remain the big and incredible tradeshow we all know or if it will become another yearly photography meeting like so many others.

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barry cash's picture

Trade shows in general with most industries are either condensing or falling off the calendar for many reasons. The cost of the booth space by the organizer is in today's money not even an investment its absurd. The idea of a trade show is either to launch new products or services, acquire new customers-distributors or sell/deliver goods.
To sell or deliver goods you need inventory and a way to get paid.
To launch new product or services you need a majority of your dealers to attend or else you could do it with a news letter.
To acquire new customers in a changing/dying marketplace where dealers and distributors are dropping like fly's because of internet sales a company has to think long and hard about bringing in most of the sales teams to a show.
Another way to look at it is five years ago you had 1000 doors handling your product the show costs were viable because your sales teams could write lots of business. Now you have 100 doors you do the majority of sales with just 5 dealers, you warehouse the inventory and drop ship, you cut the margins dealers were making, your sales are dropping, your competitors are getting out and your hanging on trying to find the right path to more sales.
Why would you spend 100k-500k to put on a show at Photokina? Why would you sign a contract with Photokina to do the show every year?
Prudent thought would be to build a better mousetrap.

Anyway the last few Photokina shows brought nothing really new and exciting.
Small companies like Linhof didn't even show a new product maybe you could see their history or talk about old times if you were interested.

My studio has been about 95% Elinchrom for about 8 years. The main thing Elinchrom needs to improve (at least in the US) is getting rid of the useless firm that reps them here. They do nothing for the dealers and due to their inattention no Chicago area dealer carries Elinchrom.

The tragedy of it all is the firm they use is the same one that helped put Profoto on the map years ago.

As far as pulling out of Photokina, I've only been to one (2014) and it was quite useful to me as well as fun. Unfortunately market conditions dictate a reduced trade show presence but again- If Elinchrom isn't at trade shows, and their (US) rep firm is as useful as a screen door in a submarine, Elinchrom may not be around much longer.

Elinchrom might be right in not showing. The event has half the space, less time to show your products. So what's next???

Other companies have problems staying ahead. ProMark who owns radio popper, smith victor, quantum and photoflex must really have problems getting new customers. Since everyone who wanted say a quantum, has one. Same with Speedotron. They work well, dont break often and they have a fast support system. But they dont attract new customers since they haven't made a new products in the last five years. Elinchrom makes good products often, but hampered by a sucky support.