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EXPO: New Strategy Attracts Better Audience for the Rand Show


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For the past 115 years, people have flocked to the Rand Show. An institution on the exhibition calendar, the Rand Show has weathered wars and political upheaval to remain South Africa’s biggest consumer show.

Yet for a number of years, the show struggled to reach the heights for which it was renowned. As the traditional agricultural focus gave way to a strong rock concert emphasis, the show became less appealing to families. As more and more visitors came to the show with their party hats on, rather than their consumer hats, exhibitor quality began to slip.

A new chapter began in 2009 however, when the Rand Show was sold to the Johannesburg Expo Centre and put under the management of SA Show Services, which was tasked with turning around the show.

“Our new strategy was rolled out in 2010,” says Craig Newman, CEO of the Johannesburg Expo Centre. “We reclaimed the show as a family space, bringing in strategically-focused, wholesome content aimed at striking a chord with every member of the family.”

The Rand Show now has a clearly defined positioning – a “Great Day Out” for the entire family – with all content revolving around the lifestyle interests and needs of the whole family.

All exhibition content was re-organised along lifestyle themes such as home and garden or healthy living, while much-loved features of old, such as the Boat Show on the Nasrec Lake, were re-introduced. There is also a strong focus now on delivering top-quality exclusive entertainment content, which is included in the price of the entrance ticket.

Add to all this beefed-up security, and a new and affordable ticket pricing structure, and the success of the turnaround could be seen in the numbers.

The New Rand Show Visitor

Despite unseasonably bad weather, the Rand Show 2010 attracted 175 000 visitors from all sectors of the rainbow nation. The majority of these visitors (65.7%) came from households with children, confirming that power of the new family-oriented, lifestyle-rich focus.

“We look for emotional touch points in the lives of families, which allows us to successfully target a wide demographic profile,” says Newman. “Our new visitor profile spans all cultural backgrounds, with the majority (42%) being in the 35-49-year age group, and a significant 31% in the 25-34-year bracket. A further 13% were aged 50 to 64.”

More importantly though, Newman says that almost three-quarters of 2010 show visitors were employed in the formal sector, with a further seven percent being self-employed. “The show pulled in an audience with real purchasing power,” he says. “Almost half of our visitors came from households which earned between R10 000 and R20 000 per month, with a further 40% earning between R20 000 and R100 000 a month.”

Now with a target of 200 000 visitors for 2011, the Rand Show is focused on reclaiming its position as SA’s premier show. And as 2010 proved, it has found the recipe for achieving this.

Rand Show 2010 stats say it all

• Number of visitors to the Rand Show 2010: 175 000

• Households with children: 65.7%

• Age:
• 18-24: 11.9%
• 25-34: 31.0%
• 35-49: 41.8%
• 50+: 15.3%

• Employment status:
• Employed, formal sector: 72.5%
• Employed, informal sector: 1.5%
• Self-employed: 7.4%
• Not working (including students, housewives, pensioners etc): 18.6%

• Monthly household income:
• Less than R5 000: 3.1%
• R5 000-R10 000: 11.5%
• R10 001-R20 000: 45.6%
• R20 001- R100 000: 39.9%

(Source: Pulse Research and Marketing, May 2010)


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