The first thing you noticed about Odmafair 09 was the space. Lots of space. Lots of space to walk around, to throw a Frisbee, to hang out in, and off your stand, and for the kids to run around without running into anything. In fact, there was so much space at Odmafair 09 you could create a Lamborghini parking lot. Hold on, they did!
With the big frame exhibitors like Sunshades, Oakley, Healy, L’Amy, Mondottica, Inta Optical, Apollo and Sceats not at the show, the three Odmafair halls looked a little light-on.
Luxottica wasn’t there last time. Then again, Luxottica and the Safilo Group, who were among the first to pull out this year, arguably don’t need to be at Odmafair, as they both have vertically integrated businesses.
The entrance to Hall 1 was sparse with few people electing to use this door, however, the Transitions stand, right in front of the Hall 1 entrance, was always abuzz and had a great energy with people talking to reps, having their photos taken, etc. If you have a stand at Odmafair it helped to have an offering or something to engage visitors.
Facts and Figures
In all, there were 120 exhibitors this year (20 per cent down from the 2007 record of 149) with a visitor attendance over the three days of 5,438 (slashed by 25 per cent from the 2007 record of 7,365 visitors).
We were told the reduction in exhibitors was due to: “issues with the organising bodies”; “poor return on investment”; “the movement of tradeshows around the world to line up with MIDO moving from May to March” and the general economic downturn.
Despite the general downturn however, feedback from exhibitors, across the halls at Odmafair 09 was unanimous: “The decision-makers turned up this year and sales were up”.
There were fewer kids with the child centre well utilised. There were fewer students and as one of the equipment companies pointed out: “We weren’t inundated by students wanting to test equipment.”
All the instrument and equipment companies had a successful Fair. Optimed said they had “a very successful Fair despite fewer visitors from Victoria.”
This was, in part, due to optometrists opting to purchase equipment instead at the Southern Regional Congress (SRC) in Victoria to take advantage of the Government tax rebate before the end of financial year.
On the eve of SRC, the Treasurer Wayne Swan, announced in the budget, an extension of the rebate to the end of December 2009. This decision was a saving grace for instrument and equipment companies exhibiting at Odmafair.
After walking the halls, Jim Kokkinakis, mivision equipment expert and Optometrist said: “Instruments were well represented and seemed to be doing a roaring trade on the back of the 50 per cent rebate.”
Lee Pepper, Managing Director of Optical Manufacturers shared this view by saying: “……………………………………”
Anne Guethoff, Marketing Manager, Essilor Australia, said: “Odmafair 2009 was a great success for Essilor Australia. The fact that most decision makers attended, made it a great opportunity for us to launch two new lens designs to a lot of key customers at the same time. A trade show that can attract this amount and level of attendees is, and will remain critical for the industry, and its suppliers.”
Brad Bairstow, Hoya Lens Australia, Sales and Marketing Director said: “While the numbers were down, overall I believe the number of decision makers that attended was on par with previous years.”
Annette Guilfoyle, Sales Director, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care said: “Although the attendance and traffic to our stand was down on previous years, we believe that Odmafair is an important industry event. We were happy to fly the flag for Contact Lenses; in the absence of other manufacturers, and it was a great opportunity to show-case our latest product.”
George Nasser, Managing Director, Opticare said: “Overall, the show was smaller than past years, but we still found it very exciting and we definitely got a return for the efforts. For Opticare, it’s not about making direct sales at Odmafair, rather, it’s about getting the profession to get to know us better, to learn about what we can do as a local independent business and overall for the profession to accept us. From that perspective Odmafair 09 was a great success.
“Whilst there were less people there, especially students, the people who were there were definitely the decision makers.” he said.
The frame companies agreed.
“We are happy with the results of Odmafair 09 as we achieved our objectives and feel that all our new initiatives in brands, products and technology were very well accepted,” said Jonathon Lewis, Managing Director, General Optical.
“Despite the fact numbers were down, Odmafair 09 worked for us because we still had the decision makers in attendance, but without the entourage. We made good sales at Odmafair 09 and I believe we are going to have a good flow on effect,” said Sean Rosenberg, Managing Director, Frames Etcetera.
A first time exhibitor with her own company, Jacque Katsieris, Managing Director, ProOptics, which won this year’s Best Galleria Stand at the Fair, said: “This was my fifth Odmafair, but my first on my own so it was a totally different experience from previous ones. Customers were excited and supportive of my new venture and I think Odmafair is a great platform in which to launch a new brand or company into the eyewear industry,” she said.
Other companies had a different response suggesting “the organisers (of Odmafair) work with the smaller companies a bit more”.
This year, the aisles were wider than other years with a lot of space allocated to ‘rest areas’.
Faraz Darabi, General Manager, Piranha Eyewear, which exhibits its celebrated Ugly Fish sports eyewear label at over 15 events a year, including International Boat Shows, Moto GP and Formula One Grand Prix, said: “Other organisers usually offer the exhibitors in areas where space needs to be filled; the opportunity to expand their size without additional cost, as it is beneficial for b