Counter to Messe Friedrichshafen’s own expectations before the OutDoor show that ended last Sunday, the number of visitors was again up: 19,300 visitors from 90 countries came to Lake Constance to meet 810 exhibitors from 38 countries. Last year’s total number of visitors had been 18,900. According to German trade show standards, a “visitor” is a daily visit rather than a person who has registered for any duration.

The first day began the successful trend, with 400 more visits than last year. This surprised many observers because they did not necessarily have the feeling that the Thursday was busier than one year ago. This impression may have been due to the fact that the exhibition surface has been significantly increased to 85,000 square meters. The additional halls have helped to stretch the flow of visitors.

The breakdown of visitors by countries is in some ways quite interesting. After years of decline, the share of the total attendance taken up by guests from Germany increased significantly by 4 percentage points to 44 percent.

The share of people from neighboring Switzerland, No. 2 in the ranking, was up from 9.5 percent to 11.5 percent. More Italians also went to Lake Constance this year: 6.3 percent of all visitors came from this big country south of the Alps, instead of 5.5 percent last year. Austria's share remained stable at 5 percent. The fifth most important market was France, but the number of French retailers was down from 4 percent to 3.6 percent. This may have been because France’s national holiday was right before the show.

As expected, the number of British visitors was clearly down, from 4.5 percent to 3.5 percent. Other countries that have been hard hit by the global crisis, notably Poland and Russia, dropped in the ranking of the strongest visiting nations. In contrast, the number of Czech retailers increased by 0.3 percentage points to a share of 2.5 percent of the total number of trade visitors. The Czech Republic ranked eighth, before the Netherlands, which remained stable at 2.0 percent.

The general ambiance was optimistic as many exhibitors recorded more orders and more interest than they had expected in view of the difficult economic conditions, except from Eastern Europe. The mood was only slightly marred by the rain. It took some respite during the famous Saturday night OutDoor Party, where attendance fell to an estimated 3,000-3,500 people from the usual 5,000-odd crowd.

Some of the dancers were so excited that they threw free beer up in the air. To clamp down on the euphoria, the organizers have decided in principle to charge €1 per glass, as they have already started doing with good results at the annual Eurobike show, which takes place in Friedrichshafen a few weeks later.