This year, the two largest construction exhibitions, MosBuild and Batimat, took place at the same time, giving visitors the opportunity to compare their potential. What was the result?
This spring, the two largest construction exhibitions in Russia, MosBuild and Batimat, were held simultaneously and each strived to go one better than the other. Who won?
The participating companies seemed to have ignored the latest trend, to exhibit at regional events where the real customers are close. They erected their booths in the capital instead – and it was the right move.
People crowded both of the exhibitions. There were queues for MosBuild, taking place in Expocenter (for the 22nd time, by the way) on all four days of its existence. Krocus Expo, holding Batimat Russia (rather a young exhibition, but one which has gathered momentum for the three years of its existence) was also full of activity.
We have decided to make a virtual competition of the two exhibitions in the pages of our journal.
The journalist’s view
What the author of this article was struck by is that MosBuild’s “construction” component was behind its “decoration” component. In this sense, the current exposition left a bad taste in the mouth. Those who had been coming to the exhibition for decades were left depressed.
Actually, speaking of large-scale producers, only Ruukki Rus, Kraspan and Tegola came to the exhibition, whilst others declined to participate in this, the largest event.
We did not find booths for KNAUF, producing the whole line of dry construction mixes, for Bonolit, with its aerated concrete, for VOLMA or for TechnoNikol, and neither did we see another large expert in construction mixes – the “Starateli” company.
Cement producers – the “Eurocement Group” and others – did not come either. Brick producers were present, but modestly: here and there in the hall were brick mounts from small companies.
At the same time, new participants appeared: for the first time, companies from Iran and Portugal took part in the exhibition.
And there is nothing to say about the construction segment at Batimat: it was practically absent!
It is interesting that it was Batimat that the Minister of Construction, Housing and Utilities, Mikhail Menn, came to open. He may have wanted to avoid offending somebody: last year he opened MosBuild.
— It should be admitted that the large construction exhibitions have turned almost fully into interior ones, thinks our expert, Alexander Gusev, Director General of “Stroymedia” LLC. — There were in fact lots of decoration and finishing materials at both exhibitions. This emerging trend is likely to take hold. And mere construction companies will move to the OSM [Domestic construction materials] exhibition, whilst paintwork materials will be exhibited only at “Lakokraska” [Paintwork materials exhibition]. MosBuild and Batimat will turn into mere interior presentations.
Is this good or bad? According to Alexander Gusev, it is not so bad. But there is a question: Which of the exhibitions might be called integral, speaking on the whole, where the full range of construction products might be presented? Will there be such an exhibition?
As journalists, we tried to ascertain why large companies have ceased their participation in the famous, large-scale displays. In one of these companies we were told that they prefer to promote their product via the Internet, alleging that marketing studies show this to be more beneficial. Another company producing dry construction mixes admitted that they prefer regional areas, as the participation outcome is larger there.
One way or another, large producers are leaving large exhibitions. Closing the door, but not slamming it… Will they come back?
The entrepreneur’s view
At the exhibition, we noticed an interesting tendency: foreign companies are getting interested in Russian construction materials. One of the large domestic companies displayed its product in London recently, and Russian aluminum laminate has attracted the attention of British architects.
— There is nothing to be surprised by, Olga Miliaeva, Deputy Director General of the production company, says. — The quality of our product is much higher than of the Turkish and Chinese producers, and the price, due to the rouble devaluation, is lower.
The same with wall coverings: companies producing wallpaper from the Nizhny Novgorod and Samara regions, having displayed their products at MosBuild, are sizing up as decent rivals to the foreign ones. The secret is simple: the purchase of their excellent quality wallpaper will cost less for a foreign customer.
A busy man’s view of MosBuild and Batimat
The business-related programs of the two exhibitions also tried to compete with each other: at both sites, construction and architecture innovations were discussed, and disputes on DIY trade problems and prospects were aired.
Famous architects and designers, as well as manufacturers and design engineers implementing BIM- and nano-technologies took part in both exhibitions.
The titles of the round tables both invited discussion and promised intrigue. In this sense, Batimat’s program was a little more interesting, but this is the only area where it won.
But if we study the business programs carefully, we see that there were many more round tables on design and decoration than discussions of the problems worrying experts in construction. C’est la vie, as the French say - alas, for the times and the manners! The market seems to be dictating the deals for the exhibition segments.
A small fly in the ointment might be some of the organizational wrinkles noticed at both exhibitions. For example, at MosBuild, visitors were not always informed about the beginning of a seminar within the business program. At Batimat, guests sometimes did not find the claimed amount of exhibited items. But these are trifles.
The evident advantage was that Mosbuild arranged special places for the regional media for the first time, as it used to be difficult to find the necessary edition.
Many regular customers discussed the issue of the exhibitions’ regularity. There were proposals to display construction achievements once every two years, rather than annually. By the way, in France (i.e. the Parisian Batimat) and Germany, exhibitions are held once every two years. This year, the Russian affiliate of Batimat – Batimat Russia – followed Mosbuild by going annual. Has it gained from this? It’s doubtful.
So, who won in the exhibitions’ rivalry?
Having visited both, we may say that the two successful exhibitions both lost out in terms of the amount of constructors and construction materials producers, as well as those visitors who came to get acquainted with new construction technologies, materials, approaches and range of products. They came… and did not see this stuff on the exhibition booths, at least in any real scale.