More exhibitors, more visitors, more internationality: PSI sets records again

So much for being 55 and showing your age. With six per cent more exhibitors, nearly eight per cent more visitors and a share of international visitors that’s climbed to 57 per cent, PSI continued its growth trajectory and once again posted new records at the 55th event. In total, organiser Reed Exhibitions Deutschland counted 988 exhibitors (prior year: 932) and 18,094 visitors (prior year: 16,810).

For the first time, industry customers invited by promotional products distributors were granted access to PSI on the last day of the event. Until now, the show had been reserved exclusively for promotional products professionals. 

The promotional products industry has always been creative. But this time it seemed as if everyone had agreed to put an extra helping of fresh ideas and innovations on top. Need some examples? How about sweet advertising made from marzipan, produced in the 3D printer, with limitless designs, fully in line with the customer’s taste. Or enamel mugs featuring a vintage look, branded with sandblasted engravings and produced by a young company from Saxony. Or never-before-seen worldwide innovations like the “Smart Writing Set”, which uses an app to merge the writing culture of a notebook with the digital world by transferring handwritten texts to smartphones, tablets or laptops.

Four halls packed with innovations and inspirations

“An impressive fireworks of creativity was ignited – celebrated almost – at PSI; it just gets you in the mood to work even more intensely with promotional products. If you can’t find ideas here, you’ll have a hard time finding them at all”, Michael Freter, the visibly delighted PSI director, said at the end of the three-day exhibition. Because where else can you find all this? Sneakers with stylish prints, available even for production runs of a single pair. Children’s drawings on bread boxes that come alive as virtual worlds thanks to smartphone-based augmented reality software. Or textiles with top-quality finishes. Be it in the electronics segment; in the textiles sector; in the “classic” paper, office and stationery product range; or in the housewares and food area – all four PSI halls were brimming with innovations and inspirations. 

Customers from every corner of the globe: 57 per cent share of international visitors  

PSI visitors from around the world appreciate all that, even if they have to travel a long way to get to Düsseldorf. Like Fanny Martin, the managing director of Versopub Ltée. No less than 9,349 kilometres separate her agency on Mauritius from the exhibition halls in Düsseldorf. She attended for the 15th time already: “PSI always has been and still is the show for us. It’s a must. Without going far, we can meet the industry’s market leaders and see trends and innovations.” And Fanny Martin is by no means an isolated case: by now, 57 per cent of PSI visitors come from outside Germany. And nearly ten per cent of them can “hold their own” against Fanny Martin. Because they, too, have to hop on an intercontinental flight to get here – be it from the US, Brazil, South Africa, Japan or India. 

The market and customers are rewarding PSI for having taken a path toward renewal in recent years by presenting PSI with a new “look and feel” as a lifestyle event. The most visible sign is the PSI Textile Area with the CATWALK, the stage where textiles and accessories are put into the spotlight. In the next hall, at the GUSTO Tasting Pavilion, advertising is turned into an indulgence. “This just gets you in the mood and shows how ‘sexy’ promotional products are and what possibilities they harbour”, says Michael Freter.

Great response at Industry Customer Day

PSI drives at the same goal with the “Industry Customer Day” on the last day of the event. For the first time, industry customers holding invitations from promotional products distributors and specially marked tickets had a chance to attend PSI. More than 1,700 customers of promotional products distributors showed up and were – like Stefan Hölzel, the marketing director of PSD Bank – enthralled by the diversity of the promotional products range: “I’m here as an industry customer, and I’m just about overwhelmed by what’s offered. There are so many producers here. Here my colleagues – marketing directors dealing with advertising materials – are turning into children again. I know why I have a promotional-products broker who advises me. Because the assortment is gigantic.”

“The Industry Customer Day is one of the most massive campaigns for promotional products that’s ever been launched in the history of our sector”, says Michael Freter. The Industry Customer Day concept was developed under the leadership of the GWW, the umbrella organisation of the German promotional products industry, by its trade show task force; represented in that group are promotional products consultants, wholesalers, suppliers, brand manufacturers and the PSI Network. Their goal is to further stimulate the promotional products market: “We very much welcome that advertisers invited by consultants can see for themselves what kind of a performance our industry is capable of delivering. Because nowhere else does the industry do a better job of presenting itself than here at PSI”, says GWW chairman Patrick Politze. 

Promotional products industry expects sales to grow

With industry sales of €3.47 billion in the past fiscal year, the promotional products industry asserted itself as a stable fixture in the German advertising market, almost seamlessly continuing the run that led to the current record, which was set last year. Nearly half of all companies now deploy promotional products as part of their marketing campaigns, according to the Industry Barometer, the annual survey presented by the GWW, the umbrella organisation of the German promotional products industry. 

And the promotional products industry is looking to the future with optimism. The PSI’s latest European industry report, for which the PSI Institute surveyed 1,958 companies in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, France, Italy and Spain, confirms that notion. Altogether, 76 per cent of suppliers (prior year: 62) and 67 per cent (60) of promotional products consultants in Europe recorded year-on-year sales increases in 2016. By contrast, 14 per cent of suppliers (24) and 15 per cent of distributors (20) registered a drop in sales. The majority of companies expect sales to grow over the course of the next five years. The figure for suppliers is 87 per cent (84), for promotional products consultants 84 per cent (83). 

The next PSI Show will take place in Düsseldorf from 9 to 11 January 2018. 

Note: PSI’s visitor, exhibitor and exhibition area figures are calculated and certified according to the uniform definitions published by FKM – German Society for Voluntary Control of Fair and Exhibition Statistics.


Statements on PSI:



“It was a great trade show for us: good contacts, good talks, an amazing atmosphere. We use the show to introduce our new products to our partners and customers. This year we eagerly anticipated the new Industry Customer Day. We’re 100 per cent loyal to our distributors, but it’s nice nevertheless to show our products directly to industry customers. In doing so, we work closely with our distributors in order to be convincing together. Industry customers don’t come to the show to buy direct but to learn about the diversity of promotional products.”
Erik Würkner, Product Management Director, SENATOR GmbH & Co. KGaA

“For us PSI was extremely successful. We were busy from the first moment until the end. It is difficult to judge the quality, but the numbers were a bit higher than last year. So we are very satisfied.”
Stef van der Velde, CEO, Giving Europe, Netherlands

“PSI is still the most important show for us, because this is where we meet all our distributors and have a chance to provide information about our new products. We view the Industry Customer Day as a positive. As a supplier, we see ourselves as partners of our distributors and provide support by contributing our technical expertise regarding our products. It’s particularly important to allay the fears of distributors. The show isn’t about prices. It’s about strengthening the reputation of the sector and strengthening the image of distributors.”
Achim Christa, Marketing Director, Lediberg GmbH

“We made lots and lots of interesting new customers contacts, but of course we also presented ourselves to our existing customers. This year we were able to attract even more attention than last time. We also view the concept of an Industry Customer Day as something very positive. Numerous customers visited us, accompanied by their distributors. It makes complete sense that all market participants can meet and collaborate here in one place.”
Mathias Menzel, Managing Director, PLAYGRND LABS

“We were very busy these whole days. We made a lot of business with German and also with a lot international visitors. We are for the third time at PSI and compared with the last year, we got quite more attention this year. For us it has been really successful.”
Christoffer Nielsen, Sales Manager, THE BREW COMPANY, Denmark

“PSI is a very good opportunity to show our new collection and our products to all our customers in just a very few days. It is great that the textile sector is pooled in one area. Here we can present our products, our positioning and company vision to new customers.”
Xavier Elberg, Marketing Manager, Stanley and Stella S.A.

“PSI 2017 was a great success from my view. I didn’t see the official statistics but we were very satisfied with the visitor traffic. PSI remains the crème-de-la-crème of European promotion product shows. We are pleased to see, that textiles are becoming more and more important.”
John P. Lynch, President, Lynka 

“PSI is very important for us, because here we can present our new products, be in direct contact with our key customers and win them over right there, live onsite.”
Achim Stephan, Founder and Managing Director, wellnuss Premium Snack GmbH

“Many people just want that ballpoint pen or standard giveaway. We have a product that’s completely customisable, and people pounce at it because it works even with a single pair. PSI inspired us in that we saw a huge response, because visitors stopping by our stand realised that there are promotional products which are completely different from ballpoint pens, T-shirts and rubber duckies.”
Christian Kubon, Management, KUMACO

“The PSI is important for us. It is not a main textile show, but it’s very important, because the audience is different. A few years ago, we made a comparison in the industry and we had a very few overlapping of the customers. So for us, it is important to be present.”
Didier Collignon, Chief Sales Officer, Falk&Ross Group Europe GmbH



“The PSI FIRST stand is important for me, because one gets an overview of innovations and trends here, a sense for what’s coming up in the next years and especially what to expect in 2017. PSI really is the leading European trade show for us. This is where we have lots of contacts with our supplier partners. This is where everyone meets in person. This is where everyone gets to know the diverse product range – for us, PSI is also a very good networking meeting; terms and conditions are discussed. But really, the human aspect is what matters most to us here.”
Stefan Lutz, Managing Director, Proline Werbeartikel e.K.

“I come to PSI because of the new products. I’ve been coming basically every year for 15 years, and each time one finds something new, which means new trends, new products and especially new suppliers. I think the smaller suppliers are the most interesting ones.”
Ingrid Gerard, Jadoe Geschenkenmakers, Netherlands

“I’m here as an industry customer, and I’m just about overwhelmed by what’s offered. There are so many producers here. Here my colleagues – marketing directors dealing with advertising materials – are turning into children again. I know why I have a promotional-products broker who advises me. Because the assortment is gigantic.”
Stefan Hölzel, Director of Media Sales & Marketing, PSD Bank Rhein-Ruhr eG

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