The Royal Smithfield Show has been cancelled, following news that many of the major exhibitors have pulled their bookings for this December’s event
Talk rippled through this week’s NFU conference of the exhibition’s possible cancellation – discussion that event organiser Haymarket was unprepared to comment on. Following confirmation of the show’s impending termination from sources within the organising committee, the company have released a statement corroborating the death knell for the historic machinery and livestock showcase.
Since the last London show, some of the machinery industry’s key players have made public their feelings about the event.
“We decided immediately after Smithfield 2004 that we could no longer justify the costs of exhibiting in London,” comments Agco marketing manager Tony Cox, representing Massey Ferguson, Valtra, Fendt and Challenger.
“The show charges have increased steadily over time but the number of visitors intending to make purchasing decisions has fallen.”
The company now concentrates its promotional efforts on its own show at the Staffs showground as well as the Cereals and Grassland events. Costs for these equate to about an eighth of the expense of Smithfield, according to Mr Cox.
In a similar vein, John Deere calculates that each visitor to Smithfield 2004 cost the company £8, taking the firm’s total spend to a massive £300,000.
Marketing manager Chris Meacock points out that this is a difficult figure to justify.
“Smithfield just doesn’t represent value for money anymore.
“We have better promotional opportunities with events like LAMMA, Cereals and Tillage – which equate to about a tenth of the outlay. Plus we get more serious enquiries about the kit on the stand.”
Claas is yet to decide whether it will withdraw from Smithfield but marketing manager Trevor Tyrrell considers it important to have a showcase launchpad for new products.
“UK shows have no chance of competing with the big European exhibitions like Agritechnica in Hanover and SIMA in Paris,” he comments.
“If Smithfield disappears we’ll just divert our investment into other promotional activities including our own show in Leipzig.”
He no longer believes that the London event forms any part of a machinery buyer’s purchasing decision and feels “there would not be a professional farmer or dealer disappointed if Smithfield did not go ahead.”