Pre-show speculation about the potential negative impact of the comparatively sluggish European economy has been conclusively dashed as activity winds down at the end of day two at METS.
Attendance through the first two days appears to be in line with that of last year, or perhaps slightly higher year-over-year says Annalie Koomen, Marketing Communications Manager at Amsterdam RAI. But what has exhibitors talking isn't so much the number of people in the aisles as the proportion of qualified buyers looking to complete deals.
"We're seeing Europe as the market with perhaps the highest growth potential for us,' says Jason Mitchell, International / Canadian Sales Manager for Canada Metal (Pacific). "The show so far has been very good and we're starting to see some bounce back in the European economy, and greater confidence in purchasing. We've broadened our product range to allow a single consolidated opportunity for our buyers, and that has allowed us to expand our business this year. METS is always an important show for us, and this year has been very good so far.'
First-time METS exhibitor Sue Smith, CEO of SS Marine Products, Farmington IL, said her company has virtually doubled its export business so far. "We've been in business for 20 years next year and this is our first METS. I have to say, I'm just overwhelmed. This is the best show ever. The quality of people coming through, and their interest level, is fantastic,' she said. "We had a small international distribution network and now after a day-and-a-half here, it's a lot bigger. We came to sell product and we've made some excellent contacts from distributors in Iceland, Turkey, the Middle East and of course different parts of Europe. I'm kicking myself for not having done this show previously.'
Satish Narayan, Sales and Marketing Manager for Richmond, BC-based ComNav Marine, says the pace at this year's METS has been nothing short of hectic. "We've finished 30 or 35 meetings so far and have about the same still to go,' he says. "Most are existing clients but there are some excellent prospective clients mixed in. Probably about 60 percent of our business is conducted outside of North America, representing 150 countries. Growth in Asia, in particular, has been strong for us so we anticipate the importance of our export business to only grow in the next few years.'
The 26th METS runs through November 21 at the Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre, the Netherlands.