MacExpo 2004 has been the most successful show yet, attracting positive praise from show-goers and exhibitors alike.

Apple's decision to open its first European store on the last day of the show (November 20) seems to have boosted, rather than limited, attendance. Some exhibitors had predicted the opening would reduce traffic at the show. This was not the case.

Show organisers XPO Events CEO, Bob Denton, confirmed: "This has certainly been the best Saturday yet. The Apple Store opening has sent the message that today is the day Mac users should be in London."

Moving from strength-to-strength

The show saw 7,149 visitors on Thursday, 7,981 visitors on Friday and 5,102 visitors by 2pm Saturday. Numerous estimates suggest the show attracted around 8,000 visitors on Saturday. People were still turning up at 4.50pm. The show closed at 5pm.

Exhibitors commented on the show's success. Adobe marketing manager Eric McCashey, said: "The Expo has been exceptionally busy, and the huge crowds have definitely exceeded our expectations. The interest in Adobe and its products has been astounding."

Show-goers were happy to shop. Bose UK retail direct manager, Damien McGrath, said: "The show has been a fantastic opportunity to showcase our brand-new products, such as the Bose SoundDock digital music system. By 11.30am on the first day we had completely sold out of SoundDocks, and had to restock to meed demand for the rest of the show." Bose sold 150 SoundDocks on the first day, and an additional 80 units by 4pm Friday.

AM Micro managing director, Steve Hawkins, said: "We have been really busy. The event has attracted a high quality of attendees."

Buying public

Resellers also benefited. Computers Unlimited marketing director, Richard Love, said: "The amount of interest at MacExpo has been fantastic. There has been a broad spectrum of customers, from professionals to home users. One of the best sellers at the show was the Wacom Tablets."

DreamTek managing director, Tristan Blakely, also confirmed a succesful show: "It has been fantastic for us. The most successful part was the demonstration area, where we had major interest from our visitors."

Rapid Group managing director, Garrett Doyle, also termed the show a success, adding, "I am overwhelmed by the amount of interest that the Rapid Group has received. It's obvious that attendance is much stronger. We are delighted by the large turnout."


The show also attracted a significant number of PC to Mac 'Switchers'. MacGames managing director, Tony Pollard, said: "MacExpo just gets busier and busier. A vast number of visitors this year are new mac customers who've recently switched from PCs. They have been genuinely surprised at the number and diversity of Mac games available."

Switcher Nicolas Down told Macworld last week: "in June I went to a conference and saw the Power Mac G5 – my jaw dropped. I had to have one. It was well worth the extra money and I've never looked back. I am a complete convert and a great advocate. I'm trying to persuade everyone I know that it's time to swap."

HP Mac-connect business development manager, Kevin Dobson, called the show "fantastic", and a "great opportunity to raise awareness of the HP brand within the Mac arena and to communicate to customers that HP is Mac compatible."

iPod halo grows gathering

Many show-goers spoken to by Macworld at the show believe Apple is benefiting from the success of its iPod product range. Switcher Nicolas Down said: "The iPod is making people aware of how good Apple, and the Mac, is. People will look at what else they have to offer. And a lot of people are going to be impressed. I really think Apple will grow its market share now."

Using the Islington Business Design Centre's PA to close the show at 5pm Saturday November 20, XPO Events CEO Bob Denton said: "MacExpo 2004 has closed. Thank you all for coming, and we hope to see you all again at our brand-new home, Olympia, at next years show on October 27, 28 and 29."

Farewell Islington, hello Olympia

Turning around with a smile, Denton said: "We have already seen over 50 per cent of this year's exhibitors sign up for Olympia." He's confident the move will make sense. "We'll have everything on one floor, and we'll be able to create logical zones for exhibitors to use to showcase products for different uses - digital video and imaging, for example."

MacExpo has been at Islington's Business Design Centre for five years. "It is sad to be leaving Islington," Denton said, "this has been a great year".

"We have had five great years here, and we are all now looking forward to our next shows in Amsterdam, Cologne and next year at Olympia".