FIT Show 2019 set to provide rich and diverse industry showcase
By Matthew Glover, FIT Show chairman.
It seems that the weather has very much reflected the political climate in recent weeks: stormy. But one thing that has remained firm and steady throughout this time, is the unprecedented industry support for FIT Show.
I’ve spoken to many people across the sector and they’re all saying the same thing: you have to trade on through periods of political and economic uncertainty. And having weathered many a stormy period such as this one throughout my long career in the glass and glazing industry, I know we’ll come out of the other side stronger and better. Those who don’t invest in the right places now and focus their efforts on reaching customers, might not come off so well.
The glass and glazing industry is a real community and it’s times like these that we pull together and show the rest how it’s done. And that’s one of the reasons I’m more excited about FIT Show 2019 than any previous year. When we throw open those NEC doors on May 21, it will be to more space sold than any previous show. More products. More innovations. It will be a bigger showcase of everything good that this industry has to offer.
Yes, we’ve sold more space than 2017. But it’s not just that that I’m excited about. It’s the fact that FIT Show 2019 will be the most diverse and wide reaching show to date. The fact that so many overseas companies, over 70 in total, are set to make their FIT Show debut reinforces FIT Show’s international appeal.
These companies, from countries including the UK, USA, Turkey, China, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, Norway and Serbia, are coming because they see the opportunities that trading with the UK presents. It’s exciting.
And not only are we bringing a more diverse showcase of brands, we’re also placing greater emphasis on materials such as timber and aluminium. We’re debuting flat glass and the associated processing machinery and equipment for the first time via Visit Glass. There are brands in the mix to exhibit in May that I could only have ever dreamed of securing when we first sketched out the concept for FIT Show back in 2011.
I’m proud to see key industry issues featuring prominently within the learning programme: from the ageing workforce and growing skills gap, through to content that will help our visitors run better businesses when they leave the show. I’m also proud to see so many businesses within the industry working hard at a local level, playing their part in attracting new talent into fenestration.
We’re already up a massive 30% on visitor pre-registrations. But it’s not just the volume of visitors that we’re focusing on. We know that in order to grow FIT Show and enhance our appeal to exhibitors current and new, we have to drive the right audience. And that’s why I’m delighted with the mix of companies that have registered to visit. 45% of those registered are from companies with a turnover of £1 million plus, over half are at owner or director level, and over 45% are either installers of fabricators.
We’ve got the right brands on the floor plan to deliver a show stopping event. And the right audience waiting in the wings to come, do business and show everyone else out there why this industry – more than any other – will come out of this storm stronger than we went in.