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Trade fairs:SMES

A lost opportunity

 

Trade shows are becoming too expensive for the SMEs
MRINMOY DEY | Issue Dated: December 9, 2012, New Delhi
Tags : Trade Fair | Pranab mukherjee | SME | Pragati Maidan | |
 

Like last year, this year too, Pranab Mukherjee, now the president of India, inaugurated Delhi’s annual extravaganza – The India International Trade Fair (IITF), 32nd edition on No-vember 14, 2012. Th e fi rst and the last Sunday, since it was opened to public, registered a new high in terms of footfall which touched around 1.3 lakh visitors. The show is unique for its popularity, scope of coverage and the promotion and sales opportunities it offers to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

As the trade fair comes to an end, one thing that will be on the participants’ mind – is the investment really worth it? There is no denying the fact that these trade shows are becoming expensive day by day. For booking a space of up to 50 sq m in the trade fair at Pragati Maidan, entrepreneurs had to shell out around Rs 50,000 which goes up to Rs 200,000 for a moderate 151-300 sq m. Add to that the running cost of a stall, manpower cost and transportation cost – turns out to be quite a significant sum especially for the SMEs. Moreover, a large crowd at these trade shows does not necessarily results in higher sales figures for the exhibitors. Suchan Kuriya, a jute handicraft s stall owner at the West Bengal pavilion, re-called his experience during 2011 when visitors bargained a lot but bought little. He added, "We're running into losses and will seriously think before participating in the fair next year." Th e challenging times and economic constraints would surely force the entrepreneurs to re-eval¬uate their participation in conferences and industry trade shows. Now, these events are no longer  seen as mere pro¬motional events but will have to deliver measurable returns to lure exhibitors to its folds.

An article on Forbes titled Th e 10 Dumbest Things Businesses Buy men-tioned trade shows one such thing. It showed how overall cost of participating in a trade show overbears the amount of sales. Albeit it did not take into consid¬eration the intangible benefits from such participation like awareness, promotion, brand value etc. But by being exorbi¬tantly expensive, these trade shows have lost their main purpose which they set out to serve ie promoting SMEs at the national as well as the global level. If the trend continues, the trade shows would fast lose their sheen. It would not only be a loss to SMEs and businessmen but also to the government and the con¬sumers at large.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017