CEBIT 2019 Cancelled After Dropping Visitor Numbers and Reduced Space Bookings

The iconic CEBIT event which is being held annually already since 1970 will be cancelled for 2019. The organizer of the CEBIT event in Hannover, Deutsche Messe, has stated that it will has cancelled CEBIT 2019 because of declining visitor numbers and a continuing reduction in space bookings. The latest CEBIT concept consisted of an exhibition, conference and festival.

Deutsche Messe announced its CEBIT 2019 event earlier on, but we must admit that editors already mentioned the fuzzy content lacking focus on the CEBIT 2019 website. Compared to other events within the IT space, a 100-euro entry fee for a 5-day ticket also seemed a bit too cheap for a high-caliber event such as CEBIT. Now it’s clear that this is the end of the iconic CEBIT event as we have known it for years, although Deutsche Messe will continue to use the CEBIT brand at events abroad it says.

Oliver Frese Steps Down

The person who apparently feels responsible for this fiasco is Oliver Frese, Deutsche Messe’s member of the managing board and as such responsible for CEBIT. Mr. Frese has requested that the executive committee of Deutsche Messe’s supervisory board releases him of his duties effective 31 December 2018. The committee agreed to his request.

“We accept Mr. Frese’s decision with regret und respect. It is difficult to lose such an experienced tradeshow manager and board member. Frese has served Deutsche Messe for many years, most recently as the member of the managing board responsible for CEBIT,” said Bernd Althusmann, Economic Minister of Lower Saxony and Chairman of the Supervisory Board. “Especially with the new CEBIT concept, Frese showed courage, innovation and pioneering spirit. The further decline in demand for CEBIT is all the more regrettable, but at the same time, it shows that the CEBIT idea affected the entire economy. The topics it represented, such as digitization and artificial intelligence, are now seen as overarching tasks – which is also a success for CEBIT.”

Deutsche Messe blames declining visitor numbers on the technological developments within the digital economy that would have reduced demand for horizontal tradeshows such as CEBIT in recent years. Digitalization’s innovative impact would be particularly evident in the industrial application industries. As such, many of CEBIT’s traditional core exhibitors have turned to events targeting these industries to generate new business, according to Deutsche Messe.


Deutsche Messe announced will now be streamlining its event portfolio. It will integrate CEBIT’s industry-related topics into HANNOVER MESSE (industrial technology) while also developing additional CEBIT topics into specialist events for decision-makers from vertical industries.

“In recent years, many discussions within the German industry have involved the thematic overlap between HANNOVER MESSE and CEBIT. It is now time to integrate the topics from CEBIT that are relevant for manufacturing, energy and logistics into HANNOVER MESSE,” said Dr. Jochen Köckler, CEO of Deutsche Messe AG. “We are currently examining the digital market to determine which remaining CEBIT topics we will develop into new events.”

Deutsche Messe does not expect direct effects from the streamlining, having already adjusted CEBIT’s role in and economic contribution to the events portfolio in recent years. “Thanks to many other strong events and strong growth in our international business, Deutsche Messe remains in a secure and solid position as a company,” added Mr. Köckler.

With 2017 revenue projected to total about 357 million euros, Deutsche Messe ranks among Germany’s top-5 tradeshow producers. With more than1,200 employees and a network of 58 sales partners, Deutsche Messe is present in more than100 countries.