The mood was positive at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE 2011 expositions held March 22 through 26 at the Las Vegas Convention Center despite reminders of the lingering U.S. construction recession. Industry professionals expressed hopeful optimism for a sustained U.S. upturn in the coming months, while global equipment sales continue to be strong.
CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE 2011 attracted nearly 120,000 registered attendees; down from the 125,000 to 135,000 show organizers anticipated in January and about 18% below attendance in the watershed year of 2008. But exhibitor reports of a motivated, buying crowd and 24% of the attendees coming from more-prosperous offshore markets infused the show with pervasive positive energy. The triennial shows are the undisputed global industry gathering place for the year and the largest gathering in North America since 2008 for the construction, construction materials and fluid power/power transmission/motion control industries.
Attendees said they were at the shows to examine the newest equipment and product technologies and innovations to help them prepare for future business. Exhibitors cited the high quality of customers and reported strong purchases and sales leads to new as well as existing customers.
"The construction industry has been through some very tough times, with record unemployment, since the last CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE in March 2008. With these positive numbers and the industry support of the shows, we’re optimistic about the future and looking forward to seeing these new sales orders fulfilled," stated Megan Tanel, AEM vice president of exhibitions and events.
"There was such a tremendous upbeat feeling at the shows; it was really great to see our industry looking ahead with some enthusiasm after the recession," stated Mike Haberman, chairman of the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2011 management committee and president of Gradall Industries.
A record number of more than 860 co-located events, educational programs and pre-planned meetings were held with the shows, plus dozens more meetings scheduled onsite. Co-locations included ICON Expo for the concrete products industry and several annual conferences of national industry associations.
Quality Attendance, International Scope
International registrations accounted for a record 24% of the total, representing more than 150 countries. CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2011 and IFPE 2011 were among a select group invited to participate in the U.S. Department of Commerce International Buyer Program, which facilitates the participation of international visitors. The shows hosted 42 official international customer delegations from 37 countries. Delegations are organized by the U.S. Department of Commerce and in-country associations and groups.
Registration data suggests the majority of show attendees were key company decision-makers, including 44% with the top titles of president/owner and vice president/general manager/chief financial officer.
"The increased global participation by attendees and exhibitors underscores the importance of world markets to our industry. The U.S. economy is slowly improving and we have a ways to go, especially in construction, but after 18 to 24 months there is more pent-up demand for equipment to be ready for the upturn," Tanel stated.
"IFPE-related markets have fared somewhat better than construction and there definitely was a lot of positive momentum and interaction on the show floor. At both shows, attendees told us this was the place they needed to be to check out what’s new and get up to speed on the latest industry trends," stated Melissa Magestro, IFPE Show Director.
On the Show Floor
Altogether on the show floor there were more than 2,400 exhibitors taking more than 2.34 million net square feet of exhibit space. IFPE was the largest ever, and CONEXPO-CON/AGG’s exhibit space was the second largest in the show’s history.