Kevin Henry, Editor
Recession? What recession? That’s the question that popped into my mind as I walked the halls of the 33rd International Dental Show in Cologne back in March. A bigger-than-ever crowd at the world’s biggest dental show and exhibitors smiling from ear to ear let me know that this was not the doom and gloom I had heard about for many months.
Like many of you, I knew that the Chicago Midwinter and the IDS meetings would be great barometers for the overall health of our industry. If there was ever a time that dental would show it had a cold or a fever, it would be the month-long stretch that housed these two shows.
My friends, I’m here to tell you that our industry is strong, vibrant, and looking toward the future. I walked out of the Koelmesse each night feeling more and more confident that our industry is ready to overcome any economic challenges.
Chicago kicked off the encouraging month with some nice numbers … a total of 31,333 attended the show (a 9% drop as compared to the 2008 figures, which were an all-time high in the meeting’s 144-year history), with dentists making up 6,983 of those. I know talking to many exhibitors that sales were good and there was plenty of interest in the exhibit hall.
And again, hats off to Randy Grove and the entire Chicago crew for making the show three days next year (Feb. 25-27, 2010). With a shorter schedule and a new location (McCormick Place West), it will have a different feel … one that I bet will invigorate people as we get closer to the Midwinter.
The numbers from IDS were impressive: More than 106,000 visitors were there and IDS saw growth in visitors (6.9%), exhibitors (4.5%), exhibition space (6.2%), and foreign exhibitors (10%). More than 1,820 exhibitors (+4.5%) from 57 countries took part in IDS 2009. Those numbers are eye-popping, especially in a time when some are uncertain about the economy.
I will tell you that, without doubt, you couldn’t look far in Cologne without seeing either implants or CAD/CAM. I am amazed how CAD/CAM has exploded since I attended my first IDS in 2001. Over lunch in Cologne, Patterson’s Scott Anderson made a great statement about the IDS when he told me he really didn’t see anything earth-shattering at this year’s meeting, but it was very much an acknowledgement that CAD/CAM is at the tipping point for dentistry. (By the way, there were a reported 170 companies showcasing CAD/CAM technology in Cologne. Wow.)
Right after I returned from Cologne, I spoke at the Oregon Dental Conference in Portland on “going green in the dental office.” My three-hour lecture went very well, and I had plenty of time to walk around and see Portland (I hadn’t been there in 15 years) and check out the exhibit hall. Even though it was a smaller state show, it seemed to me that people were walking through the hall and talking to exhibitors.
Overall as I write this, I am encouraged. During the course of five weeks, I attended a state meeting, a major national meeting, and a major international meeting. Different locations, but all had the same mindset – things aren’t going to heck in a handbasket. Yes, I see the news every night. Yes, I hear the stock market reports. Yes, I know there are unemployment problems. However, I also agree with whoever first said, “You don’t see the future by looking in the rearview mirror.”
Read on … this is your magazine.