At the beginning of the year, we said that Vitrum 2015 would be our best opportunity to assess the overall health of the glass processing sector.Now it seems that the sky will soon be clear again. The signs of growth initially reported in the last months of 2014 were confirmed this year and, although still fluctuating, the trend for international demand is showing signs of stabilizing.
A positive trend promptly noticed by companies in our sector, who immediately set their sights on innovation and got ready to reap new opportunities.
Vitrum 2015 confirmed this common sentiment, a feeling of satisfaction that tangibly increased during the days of the expo. Of the 347 exhibitors, 45.24% were Italian companies and 54.76% foreign; very important data that proves the expo has secured its position among the top leaders on the international stage. Moreover, the analysis of the participating companies profile shows that 81.84% of them were manufacturers, meaning they operate directly in the global innovative technology market.
The same considerations hold true with regard to visitors: 48.95% were Italian, and 51.05% foreign. To further confirm the sector's vitality, we should also highlight their actual interest level: the majority of exhibitors interviewed stated they met operators who were competent and seriously interested to establish a business relationship. In terms of attendance, Europe once more took the lead with 72.55%, while the rest recorded a relevant increase, especially the United States and Canada. Attendance dropped significantly for areas majorly affected by economic, financial or political problems like Russia, Brazil, and Columbia, although the South American market did record some interesting exceptions, namely Argentina, Chile, Ecuador and Paraguay.
Upon conclusion of the event, everyone agreed that Vitrum was among the sector's most important and interesting expos in the world, both in terms of technological offer and overall image. The response to the schedule introduced this year, by which the expo opened earlier, on Tuesday, and ended on Friday, proved polarizing. Some appreciated the omission of Saturday, while others felt it should be reconsidered. A response certainly worth pondering in relation to the 2017 event.
The actual overall situation of Vitrum can be aptly summarized by the words of President Dino Zandonella Necca: “In the current international situation, which is shifting as well as unusual in many ways, the pendulum is swinging towards Europe: the combination of low oil prices, increasingly stronger Dollar and weaker Euro in fact boosted Europe's ability to compete. In this context, Italian companies have the additional advantage of being much more agile and flexible than their competitors. Vitrum has already received extremely positive feedback, and the 2017 event may be a very important global reference point. We will immediately start to work on promoting our event locally, in synergy with the international commitments of Gimav, in North America, South America and wherever possible. Synergy will in fact be the keyword Vitrum will focus on in the short-term: we will try to expand our influence by collaborating with other associations in the glass sector and welcoming other product categories that will allow us to provide increasingly comprehensive services. Vitrum will be everyone's home, and the ideal tool to promote the Italian industry and Made in Italy.”