Why Baselworld 2018 Is Cutting Exhibitors By Half

What does Baselworld mean by  'repositioning our concept '?

Buried in the November 9th Baselworld newsletter was the announcement that the flagship trade show for what's new in the horological and jewelry worlds will be cutting its exhibitors in half for its 2018 edition, which runs from March 22 to March 27, to somewhere between 600-700 exhibitors.

That number marks a steady decline over the past few years — this year's show featured 1,300 exhibitors, while the 2016 edition featured 1,500. The show has also been shortened to six days, down from eight in years prior.

Baselworld has described this downsizing as a 'repositioning of its concept', stating that, while it still remains dedicated to its strategy of quality and diversity, "the watch and jewelry market is undergoing a period of profound change first and foremost through the increasing consolidation of the market in terms of production and marketing, but also through the challenges and opportunities of digital technology."

The organizers describe their intention to present Baselworld in "a denser and more concentrated form", but how this aims to coexist with the proliferation of digital marketing and technology in our industry remains unclear. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard, said that the change will make Baselworld 2018 "more coherent and more concentrated", while François Thiébaud, President of the Swiss Exhibitors‘ Committee added, “All these measures are positive for Swiss exhibitors. We now focus on the essence of what constitutes our industry.”

While it is uncertain just what that essence will look like, the decision to downsize will certainly let Baselworld target specific submarkets and niches within the community more effectively. " All efforts to develop the traditional trade show into an expanded marketing and communication platform will be pursued," the statement says, adding "new forms of real-time digital communication will be offered."

Justin Joffe
Justin Joffe

Justin Joffe is an award-winning arts and culture journalist whose work has appeared in several outlets including Vulture, The Observer, Noisey, Spin, Flaunt and the print quarterly journal of American Roots music, No Depression. He has recently written the liner notes for the recording of a Leonard Cohen tribute show, out now on the Royal Potato Family label.

SHIFTed Blog

Timely musings on vintage watches, men's fashion, cocktails, cigars, travel, cars, racing and more . . .

Recent Posts

Subscribe to Email Updates