A truly black Friday for photokina and the imaging industry

In an email to exhibitors, partners and the media, Koelnmesse’s photokina team announced today that it had ”to suspend implementation of photokina at the location in Cologne for the time being”. This historical notification ends an era of seven decades in which photokina was the unchallenged show that gave the photo and imaging industry important impulses as the world’s leading trade fair. It is clear to informed observers: The end of the traditional event was not primarily caused by the Corona Virus, but is the sad result of various, protracted previous illnesses. We are publishing the original text of the Koelnmesse announcement here:

We can join the imaging industry in looking back upon a successful, colourful and innovative era: 70 years of photokina in Cologne. Since 1950, for generations it has been the top address for photography, video and imaging. It indisputably ranks among the most positive and emotionally charged brands in the global trade fair world.
This is precisely why it is an extremely difficult step for us to have to suspend implementation of photokina at the location in Cologne for the time being, in light of the continuing steep decline in the markets for imaging products and the increasingly heterogeneous needs of the different market segments.
Even before the corona virus pandemic began, the imaging market was already subject to strong upheaval, with annual percentage declines in the double digits. The momentum in this direction intensified massively in 2020, most recently reporting a decline in the 50-percent range. Within photokina, these market shifts grew very noticeable in the recent past. Conceptual changes, too, such as the inclusion of the smartphone and new imaging technologies, along with a change of cycle and a schedule change, were not enough to compensate for the downturn in the numbers and marketing budgets of exhibitors owing to consolidation of the classic market.
The overall situation at the moment is not compatible with the quality standards of a photokina as a globally renowned leading trade fair and brand representing the highest quality and professionalism in the international imaging market.
After decades of shared history, this deep cut is a painful one indeed. Nonetheless, we must face the situation and the trend in the industry and take a clear, honest decision against continuing this event – a decision to which, unfortunately, we have no alternative.
We would like to thank you very much indeed, for your longstanding loyalty to photokina and the enthusiasm that this has involved. We can hardly put into adequate words the things we have experienced together, the history we have written together, and our appreciation for your work for and participation in photokina. We trust that you know quite well how grateful we are to you, and how difficult it is for us not to be planning a photokina with you in the foreseeable future. If not for you, photokina would not have evolved into the great and emotional world-leading trade fair it has become.
It is the memory of these unforgettable snapshots that we will always cherish – the opening of the exhibition areas, the spectacular premières of new products to journalists from all over the world and the enthusiastic responses by our international visitors. Nothing short of Imaging Unlimited!
Thanking you for 70 years together,
Your photokina team