On Thursday 28 March the members of Bosta assembled at Kattebroek, a versatile event location in Dilbeek. The meeting took place in a space that reconciles old and new, with a stunning view of the surrounding countryside. On the agenda: a look back at the most recent Paper Show, a look forward to the new one, some market insights and surprising news about a changing of the guard at the secretariat.

Paper Show 2019 in a nutshell

Bea Wollaert gave a debriefing about the 2019 Paper Show which took place at the Nekkerhal in Mechelen / Malines for the second time running. Once again, results proved positive. There was a slight drop in visitor numbers, particularly on Sunday. This was offset by increased traffic on Monday. On a positive note: the number of visitors who visited twice also increased. The number of preregistrations is on the rise, as well. 80 percent of people preregister, which is quite unique, even for a trade show.

More focus on points for improvement

The majority of trade show attendees are by exhibitor invitation, followed by press guests. The bulk of visitors are Dutch-speaking, although we also noted about a quarter of French-speaking visitors. The most important working points are still attracting more people from the Netherlands, and capitalizing more on the cheques concept. As for the Paper Show awards, the jury passed a stricter judgment. In doing so, they wanted to ensure that submitted products effectively excelled in the category they belonged to, and met all prerequisite requirements.

True to tradition a healthy sum - 14,000 euros and counting - was donated to SOS Children’s Villages thanks to sponsoring from exhibitors, Bosta membership fees and the trade show’s 1 €/visitor.

Paper Show 2020: register now!

Kathleen Bosteels lifted a tip of the veil concerning the 2020 Paper Show. Circle the dates - Sunday 19 and Monday 20 January - in your agenda right now. Exhibitors could register for the upcoming edition on the spot. First come, first served, first choice. Booths will be allocated at the autumn meeting of 19 September. If you’re planning on registering, send an e-mail to Bosta, stating your five preferred locations.

Members who would like to compete for the awards, can henceforth submit one product per brand instead of per manufacturer.

A farewell to Bea Wollaert

Chairman Bert Lips had some surprising news in store: after eleven year of loyal service secretary-general Bea Wollaert will retire from her position. She will dedicate herself full-time to running the Eldorado family business, an event hall. Kathleen Bosteels, who is already in charge of Responsible Office, becomes secretary-general ad interim. These coming months, Bea will be assisting her any way she can, to ensure a smooth transition period. Please submit any applications for the post of secretary-general to president Bert Lippens and Bosta’s executive committee (Frank Schelkens, Karina Steyaert and Tom Smets) or by mail to bosta@skynet.be. The entire board and all the Bosta members would like to congratulate Bea on her next career move and wish her all the best.

Mapping the market

GfK’s Thalia Demesmaeker zoomed in on market figures and trends. Sadly, consumer confidence has suffered a serious blow. Even countries that are generally positive - like the Netherlands - seem to be caught in a downward spiral.

As for e-commerce, Belgium is still limping behind. We make about 16 percent of our purchases online (the average in Europe is more than 25 percent). In 2018 Belgians spent on average 1273 euros on internet purchases, accounting for 97 million transactions. That figure includes ‘cross-border’ purchases from players like Amazon and Bol.com. Popular products include clothes, media and tickets for concerts and festivals. Travelling and plane tickets also score big. A striking fact: Black Friday boosts e-commerce significantly. People buy even more on that day than during the entire first week of January sales.

In the non-food category ‘growers’ include telecom, consumer electronics, IT and DIY. The ‘losers’ are entertainment, photography, fashion and – unfortunately – stationary (both in value and volume). Cartridge sales continue to fall, whereas writing utensils are showing growth. 

As a part of their membership, Bosta members receive a detailed overview of these market figures.

As usual, the meeting ended on a tasty note with a nice reception and some fine dining in Kattebroek’s contemporary / rustic setting.