The SIHH may be expanding in terms of exhibitors (although reduced in days), but Baselworld has been shrinking both in terms of participants and length, with the 2019 edition to be even more noticeably smaller than this year’s due to the decision by their biggest exhibitor, the Swatch Group, to withdraw from 2019 onwards, as reported by Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag.
Group CEO Nick Hayek told NZZ am Sonntag that the decision of the Swatch Group was based on industry changes, changes in consumer behaviour, and increasing online sales all combining to render fairs less relevant. With a Baselworld budget of some 50 million CHF now saved, it will be interesting to see, in light of Mr Hayek’s comments, if there will be any other major changes made to how new models are released and promoted, and if there might be a focus on regional promotion.
The withdrawal of major exhibitor Swatch Group will also be a major blow to organising company MCH, which is half owned by the Cantons of Basel-Stadt, Basel-land, and Zurich.
There is still a long time until next year’s fair, so it remains to be seen whether this significant withdrawal portends a Baselworld 2019 that will be a critical turning point for its future in its current form.