Few days ago (from 2nd to 5th December) we attended Automechanika Shanghai.
Automechanika, which started out as Automechanika Frankfurt in Germany, is the leading trade fair in automotive. Repairers, innovators, franchises, car wash systems, diagnostics, electronics, mechanics, spare parts, mechatronics … All the major representatives of various sectors meet periodically in different places around the world. The objective is to find new customers, strengthen existing relationships and discover interesting projects .
Automechanika Shanghai certainly does not have a hundred-year history, yet it is a massive event. Our team has been present at the Shanghai edition since 2015. We are able to compare it from personal experience to the Automechanika in Frankfurt, Madrid, Birmingham, Atlanta and so on.
Shanghai has had the largest number of exhibitors and visitors since 2016. It even beats the Frankfurt mother edition, which among other things takes place every two years.
This year, however, things have been different. The fair in Shanghai, always packed with people, with queues for entrances and even exits… this year had empty corridors.
There were visitors, and exhibitors too, but far fewer than usual.
However, that doesn’t mean Automechanika Shanghai is a failure. Let’s see why.
Preparations for Automechanika Shanghai 2021
To understand if a fair will be repeated, an easy way is checking if the next edition will take place. The dates for Automechanika Shanghai 2021 are already available. It will take place from 24 to 27 November 2021.
It is clear that, given a decision made in the same margins of the other past years, the drop in visits has been deemed temporary. The potential of the event remains very high. That’s especially true for Asia (which in 2019 recorded 44% of visitors) and Europe (from which 27% of visitors came). As for Chinese visitors, almost half come from eastern China. Another third is divided between southern China (where Guangdong predominates thanks to the strong presence of professional car repairers) and northern China.
Let’s now evaluate the results of Automechanika Shanghai 2020 compared to the forecasts of October 2020 and the results of Automechanika Shanghai 2018.
A declining performance due to COVID-19
Certainly Automechanika Shanghai could have been better this year. The numbers, in fact, show that 3845 exhibitors showed up at the fair, and just under 80,000 visitors from all over the world, including China. The space in use was 280,000 square meters, according to forecasts, but many spaces remained unused. The fair took place at the NECC (National Exhibition and Convention Center) in Shanghai, the most important exhibition center in China, where the famous CIIE (China International Import Expo) is organized every year.
The forecasts of the organizers were not very precise even a month before the event. Automechanika Shanghai said, in fact, that it expected around 160,000 visitors, while it registered only half. Possibly a miscalculation was made or it is an oversight. In 2018, for example, the fair registered 6269 exhibitors, 150,000 visitors and covered an area of 350,000 square meters. It is curious that the organizer expected half of the exhibitors but more or less the usual number of visitors. Especially considering the difficulty to enter China in this period due to anti-COVID restrictions, the reduction of international flights, and so on.
Outlook for 2021
Whether or not the COVID-19 problem is solved globally in 2021, it is practically certain that the numbers will be higher than in 2020. If the pandemic has been fully managed, it is likely that visitors will be even higher than in previous years, because many they will want to catch up with new technologies and new products presented at Automechanika Shanghai.
We strongly recommend participation in all companies in the sector with a presence in China, and to make an accurate assessment of companies that, although not having a stable base in China, have an interest in the eastern market. Securing a ticket (or a stand) at Automechanika will now be much easier than making it close in ten months.