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An important forum in the recession

The forest industry’s economic situation and market conditions have been radically affected in recent months. Despite this, interest in the world’s biggest forestry fair, Elmia Wood 3–6 June, is still high.
“Right now the total stand area booked is actually higher than before the fair in 2005 and exhibitor numbers are 25 per cent above the same month in 2005,” says Torbjörn Johnsen, business area manager at Elmia.

Hotel reservations in Jönköping and the neighbouring municipalities are also an important indicator, not least for visitor numbers.
“Reservations are already higher than in 2005 so we know the visitors are also coming,” Johnsen adds.
In the Bratteborg woods south of Jönköping preparations are continuing in full force.
“The new large-scale trail is ready and the machinery manufacturers who have their stands there have begun building them,” adds Per Jonsson, project manager for Elmia Wood.
In his daily contacts with exhibitors he often hears that it’s more important than ever to have a visible presence at this year’s fair.
“In some sectors we’re seeing fewer exhibitors but on the other hand the bioenergy sector, for instance, is expanding strongly.”

Aware of the times

Roland Lundqvist, marketing manager at Komatsu Forest, describes his company’s plans to exhibit at Elmia Wood this year as “being aware of the
“We’re working with our product plans on a long-term basis,” he says. “In those plans, Elmia Wood is always an important and effective forum at which to present and launch new products. At the same time neither we nor our customers want our exhibiting to feel excessive, given the economic downturn.”
The machinery market has changed radically in just a few months.
“We’re experiencing a big drop in our customers’ ability to invest. But we hope and believe that most people have a long-term approach and will take this opportunity to discover the trends.”
Roland Axelsson, product manager at Rottne Industrier, paints a similar
“Times are tough for all machinery manufacturers. As long as the financial crisis continues, financing is a problem even for companies that really want to invest.”
Despite this, not exhibiting at Elmia Wood was never a possibility:
“In our view, stopping our marketing efforts is not a long-term solution to getting ahead in a recession. Instead, we’re trying to hone our messages and emphasise our strengths. We’ll be presenting our new products as always, though it will be in a slightly more compact way that’s suitable for the current market.”

Energy boost

At the Elmia Wood offices, the intense planning work continues unabated.
The exhibitors are fine-tuning their marketing messages and the exhibition stands are starting to take shape out in the woods. Only a few months are left until the doors will open to the world’s biggest forestry fair.
“Of course, we mustn’t minimise the difficulties that many individual companies are experiencing as they’re forced to adapt their operations to a smaller market than the one that existed just a few months ago,” Torbjörn Johnsen concludes. “But we firmly believe that Elmia Wood 2009 can provide an important energy boost in terms of market opportunities, belief in the future and confidence.”

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Trendspotting Elmia Wood 2009

• Exhibitors that target forest owners, including silviculture, small-scale technology, IT & computers, etc. have increased their presence at the fair compared with Elmia Wood 2005.

• Exhibitors in the bioenergy field have increased greatly in terms of both their numbers and stand area.

• There is a mixed picture with regard to the group of exhibitors, such as forest machinery manufacturers, that target contractors. Some are increasing but other companies are reducing their presence. Most are staying at the same level as in 2005 and the size of this exhibitor segment as a whole is unchanged.

• The transport and logistics exhibitor segment is smaller. This segment belongs more to the vehicular industry than the forest industry and these companies are clearly in a significantly worse situation than those with closer links to forestry.

• In total only six companies have chosen not to follow through with their preliminary bookings (which were made before the economic downturn).

• Elmia Wood is a global trade fair that is marketed world wide. There is great interest in the fair from both visitors and the trade press from all parts of the world.