TechXNY has been hit hard by the economic downturn: Attendance at this year's show is estimated at 40,000, according to show organisers, down from 80,000 just two years ago. Half the show floor is curtained off and unused.
"They should have put basketball courts back there or something, to make use of the space," joked one exhibitor.
The show will move to September next year to accommodate the June arrival of CeBIT America, which will also be held at the Javits center. The scheduling change was the decision of the Javits management, but TechXNY is confident it will work out, show director Christina Condos said.
"We have a lot of vendor loyalty and we have a lot of attendee loyalty," she said.
CMP Media LLC, which runs the show, is not yet estimating next year's attendance, but Condos expects it to depend heavily on the economy. When business picks up, so will trade show attendance, Condos said. Even in a difficult market, running the show is still cost-effective for CMP, she said: "We wouldn't be doing it if it weren't."
But with travel and marketing budgets dwindling, can New York really support two major shows within three months of each other? CeBIT America managing director Mark Dineen said the answer is an emphatic yes.
"We're getting outstanding feedback from all [industry] players. Basically, nobody is saying no," Dineen said. He declined to name any committed exhibitors, but said contracts are being sent out this week and details about exhibitors will be available next month.
CeBIT's flagship eight-day annual extravaganza in Hanover, Germany, is the industry's largest trade show, drawing 700,000 visitors this year. CeBIT America will be a quieter affair, with a projected attendance of around 40,000, Dineen said.
The show's focus will be on attracting senior managers as attendees and enterprise vendors as exhibitors. No consumer technology will be on display.
"We went and did a lot of research, and vendors basically told us they wanted to be in New York, and they wanted a pure, high-end B2B show," Dineen said. "We're not looking for mass, we're looking for quality."
Running so close to TechXNY shouldn't be a problem because of the shows' different themes, according to Dineen. We're not necessarily playing in exactly the same field," he said.
Condos also said she's not concerned about CeBIT's arrival. "Our vendors are aware of it," she said. "A lot of them are saying 'it's a first-time show, and we don't do first-time shows.'"
One potential complication with next year's September TechXNY is its proximity to Comdex, the Las Vegas show in November that traditionally draws several hundred thousand attendees and a slew of product launches.