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What's next? - The future of Baselworld

What's next? The future of Baselworld

There will be little change at the exhibition next year, at least as far as Hall 1.0 is concerned.

Even though this year’s Baselworld was shortened by two days, there were still few journalists left when the organisers hastily organised a closing press conference on the final day of the show. A forgiving Kurt Kupper (CEO of Reuge) helpfully sped through my final interview so that I could get away in time to arrive at the press conference only ten minutes late.

The voicemail I received from an unnamed person at the Baselworld press office promising the presence of numerous CEOs was, unsurprisingly, wide of the mark. Intead, Sylvie Ritter, Managing Director of Baselworld, and René Kamm, CEO of MCH Group, valiantly fielded the questions that had been pent up over the past seven days by journalists who were not given any chance to ask them at the opening press conference.

Little change for 2019

Contrary to various rumours that circulated during the exhibition, Baselworld will remain little changed from its current format, at least as far as Hall 1.0 is concerned. Sylvie Ritter confirmed that “all the major players” in the industry will be present next year and that the only brand exhibiting in Hall 1.0 not to have confirmed either its presence or absence in 2019 is the family-owned independent brand Raymond Weil.

Prices cut for exhibitors, but not for visitors

Exhibitors benefit from a 10% reduction in the cost of renting their exhibition space and some of the bigger exhibitors will no doubt save money because their stands are remaining in place until next year’s edition of the show. But René Kamm said there is unlikely to be any change to the 60 Swiss franc entrance price for the public. The main reason for this is to keep visitor numbers (which remained stable this year, despite the shorter duration) at a manageable level.

Online versus print

Before the show I wrote that I would test the Baselworld Live News app and, true to my word, I did and I was very impressed. I chose Skype as my preferred direct messaging platform and browsed through the various options of searching content based on watches or jewellery, latest news or individual brands. I was always directed to appropriate content on the baselworld.com website, which led me to ask Sylvie Ritter whether there were any plans to extend the platform to external sites. She said that this is something that they will consider, but at the same time confirmed that the organisers were also reconsidering bringing back the daily print version of the Baselworld News next year.

Feedback from the exhibitors – positive overall

Despite the grumbles about the organisation and the uncertainty caused by rumours circulating during the exhibition, the overall feedback I received from around 60 individual meetings and interviews during the exhibition was positive. A number of smaller independent brands who often find it hard to entice retailers to visit them even confirmed that they were actively being approached by retailers and that, unlike previous years, there were hardly any no-shows. In general, business seemed to be good.

See you next year!

The dates for Baselworld 2019 are confirmed as March 21-26, keeping the six-day format.

See all our coverage of Baselworld 2018.

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