In recent years, Deutsche Messe has sought to portray Cebit as business-focused rather than consumer. The show has in past years drawn as many as 200,000 visitors in the first three days or so, mostly Germans. So far this year, preregistrations by journalists and visitors have been about the same as last year, Prüser said.
Deutsche Messe is spinning the all-time low number of exhibitors as still remarkable considering the tech industry has been hit hard by waves of layoffs, mediocre financial reports and slowing demand for enterprise software and consumer products.
In an effort to attract exhibitors, for the first time this year Deutsche Messe partnered with German airline Lufthansa to sell flight tickets to foreign visitors at up to a 20 percent discount. The discount only applies to companies or people who do not already have a discount arrangement with an airline.
Also, Deutsche Messe has seen an increasing number of smaller companies take advantage of prepackaged display stands, which can reduce a company costs for a display by as much as 50 percent, Prüser said. The costs of renting floor space, however, has not been discounted, he said.
The prepackaged stands mean that companies don't have to ship material. It's not just small companies who like the idea: Big vendors such as Brother are buying the packages this year, Prüser said.