What about 2021?

Published 5/10, 2020 at 11:19

President of the IACDS association, Michael Findeis, wrote in his editorial column, which is published on page 6, got what the coronavirus pandemic has done to the industry spot on.

He writes: “It is like driving against a concrete wall in 130mph.” I had exactly the same feeling and it happened during March this year. However, since then we have learned to work quite differently than during normal years. Talking as a working publisher, I have had very few live meetings, with any meetings being held by video conferences, video chats, phone calls, etc. Additionally, more or less 100% of this year’s trade shows has been postponed and pushed back to 2021. 

As the weeks and months have passed I have talked to many contractors and suppliers in the industry and I have fortunately found that many companies in our industry have been able to find new ways to survive. Both concrete cutting and demolition firms here in Sweden are reporting that business is quite good despite the pandemic. Decisions might take a little bit longer nowadays and some projects are postponed, but still the wheels are rolling somehow. With work to do there is also a need for tools and machines to be invested in. In particular, in Sweden, the diamond tool business is more or less at the same level as in a normal year.

Demolition attachment sales are somewhat down but still there is business and contractors continue to invest. Larger investment in machinery has in some cases been halted and contractors try to manage to do jobs with machines and equipment that they already have in their fleet. However, many confirm that there is a big need to replace older fleet machines. Maybe a result of the coronavirus pandemic will be that the expected downturn in the market during 2020 will not be that deep as once estimated. In Sweden we could see a clear downturn in the market at the end of 2019 with predictions of increased downturns in 2021 and 2022. The pause in business caused by the coronavirus may have superseded these economic downturns. 

In June everybody was hoping that things would have cleared after the summer, but we have learned that Covid-19 will be around a little bit longer then we first expected. We had to take the decision to postpone our Scandinavian demolition tradeshow, Demcon 2020 and move the dates to 9 to10 September, 2021. Instead we organised the ‘Demcon Virtual Road Trip 2020’, where exhibiters were invited to attend a virtual show during October and November this year. For three weeks our film team has visited suppliers to the Scandinavian market making a number of films about new products that are being launched. This became highly successful and we are now hoping that many people will ‘attend’ our broadcasts. More information can be found on www.demcon.se. 

The broadcasts and films will be in Swedish though, but maybe this idea can be followed in other regions of the world. I think we as ‘suppliers’ have to learn to find new ways of reaching our customers as I think we are going to face the effects of the coronavirus during 2021. Only when a safe and working global vaccine is available for everybody can we start relaxing. Until then we have to live according to restrictions, as now we are seeing a second wave of the virus in many countries and some countries have not even ended their first wave. 

I am very doubtful concerning what tradeshows will be held during the first six months of 2021.  Will World of Concrete, SaMoTer, BeBoSa, Intermat 2021, to name but a few, really take place? ‘Virtual’ alternatives are set to become more popular as new ways to meet and exhibit developments, and are in some way or another, set to become a permanent fixture.

Jan Hermansson

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