CPHI Frankfurt returns to pre-pandemic strength as pharma industry booms again

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In-person visitor numbers rebound sharply, with record C-Suite attendance and the largest ever online presence

Amsterdam – The global pharma industry was out in full force at CPHI Frankfurt in November with 40,405 executives from 167 countries visiting the 2022 edition of the world-leading pharma industry tradeshow, a huge 75% increase over the number of attendees in 2021. Final visitor numbers will be confirmed by independent auditors ABC in early 2023.

The increase in visitor numbers was all the more impressive because many visitors from China – who usually make up around 10% of the show’s in person audience – were prevented from attending CPHI Frankfurt by COVID-related travel restrictions.  Reflecting the robust strength of the pharma industry, visitor attendance from major markets in Europe and the USA was comparable to the pre-pandemic 2019 event, which was the largest single gathering of pharma executives in CPHI’s thirty-two year history.

CPHI’s flagship exhibition is widely regarded as a key bellwether for the pharma industry’s prospects for the year ahead, so visitor numbers and other measures of exhibitor and visitor face-to-face and digital interactions are closely monitored.

CPHI’s seamless integration of its online and in-person experience has meant the event’s digital platform also continued to grow with a record 36,239 online attendees – 49% year-on-year growth – and a staggering 215,580 digital conversations being held, making the 2022 event the largest digital event in CPHI’s history.  

“The single biggest message coming back from our key stakeholders about CPHI Frankfurt is the exemplary quality of new business meetings they participated in.  It’s clear  pharma partnering rebounded tremendously at this year’s event, which bodes extremely well for the industry in 2023. But we have also seen a huge increase in visitors using our digital platform alongside the in-person event to initiate or enhance a 365-day-a-year conversation with their prospects and partners,” commented Adam Andersen, Informa’s Executive Vice President, Pharma.

A clear trend evident at this year’s CPHI was the shift toward increasingly senior executives attending the show.  The growing number of C-suite executives attend the show to meet their industry peers and to explore the show’s expanded content focused on the latest market innovations and insights for the year ahead.  More than 79% of attendees at this year’s show were rated as ‘having purchasing power’ and 57% at the C-suite level – up from 46% in 2019 – highlighting CPHI Frankfurt’s growing significance to the pharma industry’s most influential decision-makers.

In parallel with the rebound in visitor numbers, the number of exhibitors at CPHI Frankfurt also compared favourably to the 2019 event, with some 1,846 businesses from 98 countries exhibiting, an increase of nearly 700 on 2021 exhibitor numbers.

The industry is already looking forward to CPHI Barcelona in 2023 to be held at the
Fira Barcelona (24 – 26 October 2023). With no travel restrictions expected in 2023, the event is likely to see record numbers of international attendees and exhibitors, especially as global pharma supply networks expand, and outsourcing continues to proliferate. Then in 2024, CPHI Middle East will open for the first time in Riyadh (15-17 January 2024) – creating a new pharma hub for manufacturers and innovators to access this fast-growing pharma region.

What we have seen throughout CPHI Frankfurt is that our in-person and digital platforms add real-world value and deepen conversations with partners. The event is at the heart of all pharma partnering and, post-pandemic, we have seen many new attendees at the event. For the most part, these new executives are senior pharma industry leaders with specific partnering and supply requirements that they are meeting through CPHI’s online and in person platforms.

Adam Andersen, Informa’s Executive Vice President, Pharma

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