The 1996 PC Home Computer Show held in Melbourne last fortnight has left many of its attendees questioning whether they got value for money. Some exhibitors have reported financial losses as a result of the show, incurred through both the costs of exhibiting and lost revenue from taking staff out of their stores. For others, the show was highly successful.
Exhibition director Brian Cooper says this year's show drew 35,285 people, up 5 per cent on last year, and added that quality is improving each year. "The overall feeling has been one of excitement, lots of activity and great sales," he said.
As for the new location at Melbourne's Exhibition Centre, Cooper says it allowed for a good traffic flow and made it very easy for people to get around and see the whole show. He added that some problems arose as not all people were accustomed to the new location. "We did get a few people ringing up and asking 'where is it?' and we were able to set them right, but it's a little bit unknown as to how many people would have gone to the old location," he said.
But while the crowds may have come, many resellers feel they didn't bring their wallets with them. Sunny Zeng from Starlink Technology estimates his company will have lost $7,000 on the show, as well as roughly $2,000 in lost sales from closing the store on Friday to attend. While believing last year's show to have been successful for Starlink, Zeng says he will wait before making a commitment to next year's show.
On the bright side
However, Andrew Dale of Component Technology feels the show was a great success, with his company's $1 Computer Club stand signing 1,200 new members. Dale says several hundred Internet connections were also signed up, and over 400 quotes on PCs given out. Dale says part of the success was due to the thought put into the stand's colour scheme and design.
Hypertec's group marketing manager Michael McGrath says he has received very positive feedback from the weekend. "We had tremendous opportunities to speak with a number of people that weren't necessarily that aware of Hypertec, so from that perspective it was a very valuable exercise. It's an awareness building exercise amongst a relatively new target market with regard to IT products."
Microcomp Australia's Eric Wong says his company will, at best, break even from the show. "We were expecting to do a lot better. With the size of the stand we put up we were expecting quite considerable returns. We were expecting more people, but I don't know why we're not doing as well as we expected." Wong says Microcomp won't be appearing at next year's show.
Gene Ye of XON Computers says that, while he expects to have lost some money for his efforts, he believes the benefits may lie in the longer term. "If you just count it in economic terms, we're losing money. But you never know, people might come back after three months. So we go into the show not just to do the sales, but also for a little bit of publicity." Ye says that while this year's show was busy, business was about one third of last year's show.