IEG's managing director Corrado Facco and executive vice president Matteo Marzotto.

MILAN — Optimism was in the air at the Milan apartment of Matteo Marzotto, where the press conference for the upcoming edition of VicenzaOro was held on Thursday.

Previously president of Fiera di Vicenza, Marzotto is currently the executive vice president of the Vicenza-based jewelry trade show’s organizing company Italian Exhibition Group SpA, or IEG, which originated last year from the merger of Rimini Fiera and Fiera di Vicenza.

Running Jan. 19 to 24, the upcoming edition of VicenzaOro will be sold out, with the expected presence of over 1,500 companies, 40 percent of which are international and coming from 35 countries. In particular, the presence of luxury brands will increase by 10 percent compared to the last edition.

“It’s the first time since I’m here that we register such numbers,” said Marzotto, who has been revitalizing VicenzaOro since his appointment as president of Fiera di Vicenza at the end of December 2013.

The executive explained the venue was also expanded to more than 269,000 square feet to accommodate exhibitors. “VicenzaOro will never be the biggest trade show in the world from a dimensional point of view, as that’s not our goal,” said Marzotto, adding that the organizers focus on offering the best selection of brands instead.

“I personally believe that trade shows with 3,000 exhibitors won’t [last] considering the ongoing changes of the market,” echoed IEG managing director Corrado Facco, mentioning the evolution of distribution and retail strategies and the growing importance of omnichannel.

“We have been training for some time thanks to a scouting activity and providing the best of the Made in Italy and international offer,” continued Facco, underscoring that such strategy fits with the needs of buyers, who have less time to see collections and fewer days to spend at the fairs due to budget limitations.

To shed light on the shifting market trends, a range of workshops and digital panels have been included in the trade show’s schedule.

In particular, the Visio Next Summit will be held the opening day of VicenzaOro and offer in-depth analysis on the future trends of the industry, with a significant focus on sustainability and the role digital will play in the business “as online sales represent the challenge this industry has and will have to face,” according to Facco. For this reason, guests of the talk will include representatives of major digital players, such as LuisaViaRoma, Amazon, Google and Yahoo, among others.

Also on Jan. 19, the ceremony of the sixth Andrea Palladio International Jewelry Awards will acknowledge the most valuable companies according to different categories, including communication and social responsibility, in addition to product creativity.

Structurally, the fairgrounds will be divided into differently themed areas, as the Icon and the Creation sections. The former will comprise branded offer, – representing 25 percent of the exhibitors, – while the latter will showcase the unbranded ones, which account for 40 percent of the exhibitors.

In addition, The Design Room, housed in the Icon section, will showcase 12 emerging and independent jewelry brands, while the Look and Essence corners will be dedicated to fashion branded jewelry and gems and components, respectively.

Simultaneously, the T-Gold exhibition, which focuses on the latest technologies and machinery used for manufacturing jewelry, will also be sold out, registering a 20 percent increase in attendance compared to the same period last year. The venue will be widened to accommodate 161 companies from 16 countries, with the majority of exhibitors coming from Italy, Germany and the U.S.

In general, the VicenzaOro system will host 10 B2B exhibitions in 2018, including Arezzo-based shows OroArezzo and Gold Italy and five international fairs in locations such as Dubai, Mumbai, Hong Kong and Las Vegas, drawing a total of 4,500 exhibitors and over 96,000 visitors from 130 countries.

Hosting 216 among events and congresses, IEG is the top trade fair institution in Italy and reported consolidated pro-forma revenues of 124.8 million euros in 2016.