Trade show postponements have become standard operating procedure during the Covid-19 outbreak, and rightly so. Last week’s cancellation of the Electronic Distribution Show (EDS) also qualifies as historic. The show has been around in one form or another since the 1930s and has suspended assembly only during World War II.
EDS was scheduled for May 11 – 15 in Las Vegas. Considered the premier annual event for the international electronics components industry, EDS draws over 4,000 executives from world’s leading manufacturers, distributors and sales representatives.
“We’ve all been watching the fast-moving developments of the Covid-19 pandemic and we decided to be proactive for obvious reasons,” said EDS board member Robert Logan. “The most important aspect of this decision is the health and well-being of our fellow industry citizens. To that end, the board along with our sponsoring associations have decided to cancel EDS 2020.”
Attorney Gerald M. Newman of Schoenberg Finkel Newman & Rosenberg, LLC, has been involved with EDS for decades. “EDS began as the May Parts Show in 1937; it took a hiatus during World War II and resumed in 1946,” Newman told EPSNews. “For the first 20 years it was held in New York at the Hilton, and they actually had special trains running from Chicago so parties from the Midwest and West Coast could attend. At that time, it was primarily a radio parts show, and emerged in the 1980s as EDS.”
The trade show rotated between New York, Las Vegas and Chicago for a number of years, with occasional stops in New Orleans and Orlando. Las Vegas become the preferred venue due to its location and hospitality options. The show has experienced a number of milestones, Newman recalled. “One was when the show began as a conference instead of a trade show,” he said. In the past, attending companies were required to have a presence on the show floor. Over the years, businesses have preferred to hold meetings in private suites, so EDS has evolved as a conference.
The largely Americas-focused meeting has also become international. In the 1980s, the show saw Asian companies significantly expand their participation.
“EDS has always been a not-for-profit show, but the cancellation will be a significant hit to the sponsoring organizations that derive some income from the show: the Electronics Representatives Association (ERA); the Electronics Components Industry Association (ECIA), and the Global Electronics Distributors Association (GEDA),” Newman added. “In the end I think it will come back together.” EDS has already announced plans for 2021.
The Mirage, venue for the 2020 conference, has released the associations from their contracts and is not assessing penalties. EDS will refund individual and group registrations; companies can apply for a refund or credit their deposit toward EDS 2021; and first-night hotel deposits for registrants will be also be credited.