22 Important Trade Show Statistics
Do you think trade shows are still relevant today? Well, we think so, and we hope that you will, too, after reading the trade show statistics we’ve collated! Despite the ongoing digital revolution and its impact on marketing, we’re pretty sure you’ll still find a gem in trade shows.
Before the internet, trade shows were used to generate leads and boost sales. They offered many benefits back then. And now that the digital age has come, they still give you the opportunity to grow your audience, increase brand exposure, build relationships, and much more.
Trade show statistics can prove all these, and they may even encourage you to participate in the next trade fair!
Now let’s get rolling…
Trade Show Facts and Stats (Editor’s Choice)
- The value of US B2B trade show market will reach $16.4 billion in 2020.
- Trade shows are the second largest source of B2B revenue in the US.
- 93% of face-to-face marketers are feeling “optimistic” or “hopeful” about trade shows being an effective marketing medium.
- Over 90% of trade show attendees say they are searching for new products.
- Every year, $24 billion is spent by US exhibitors for trade show displays.
- 40% of exhibitors follow-up leads between three to five days after the show.
General Trade Show Statistics 2019
To start things off, we’ll take a look at the current situation of trade shows. From market size to the industry’s forecast growth, no details will be spared.
1. Trade shows or conferences are the most popular type of meeting activity in North America and Europe.
(American Express Global Business Travel)
A study just proved that trade shows are still alive and widely-acknowledged.
In North America, 23% agree that trade shows/conferences are the top meeting activity type.
The same study revealed that 20% of Europeans believe trade shows/conferences continue to thrive.
2. The value of the US B2B trade show market will reach $16.4 billion in 2020.
Curious about the US trade show market size? We were, too, so we looked for it!
From $15 billion in 2018, the value of the industry’s market is expected to reach $16.4 billion this year and a whopping $18.5 billion by 2023.
With such huge numbers, it’s undeniable that the trade show market is expanding.
If you’re looking for more proof, the next stat is what you need:
3. Trade shows are the second largest source of B2B revenue in the US .
This isn’t too surprising since the US is known for having the largest aggregate exhibition space globally at 73.7 million square feet.
Interestingly, there’s only one US company among the 30 largest trade show companies in the world.
So, who’s in control of the global trade show industry? If you guessed Europe, you got it right!
4. Hundreds of trade fairs are taking place in France.
A study has shown that there 623 trade fairs that were held in France alone.
There are lots of other countries in Europe, so just imagine the countless number of trade shows happening in this part of the world.
But how many trade shows are there in the US?
5. Approximately 13,000 trade shows happen in the US every year.
Surprisingly, this number only account for 40% of all trade shows around the globe.
Nevertheless, it’s still huge. And this means there are lots of shows for businesses to choose from. Are they taking advantage of all these?
Let’s check with this next stat:
6. US businesses attend approximately 14.5 national events.
Of course, it’s impossible to be present at all trade fairs, as they vary in theme and audience. Besides, budgets can be an issue, so it’s best to attend only those that are in line with your industry and target market.
All things considered, US businesses attend 23.2 regional events, 14.5 national events, and 7.8 international events.
Trade Show Marketing Statistics (ROI, Efficiency, and Attendees)
From the above statistics, it’s clear that trade shows aren’t out of style yet. Yes, they are popular, but are they worth the money?
Clearly, businesses won’t go to events only to suffer losses or come back empty-handed. So, here’s what we know about the ROI, efficiency, and attendees of trade shows:
7. Costs and measuring ROI are the two biggest problems exhibitors had with trade shows.
Well, trade shows aren’t all awesome booths and stunning signages. Exhibitors also encounter problems. According to them, two of their biggest challenges are the costly price of exhibiting (63%) and the difficulty in measuring trade show ROI (54%).
And while we’re on the subject of ROI, it’s worth remembering that we live in the digital era. Lots of software solutions are available, and yes, some of them can be used for event management and measuring event success or ROI.
8. 93% of face-to-face marketers are feeling “optimistic” or “hopeful” about trade shows being an effective marketing medium.
Despite the challenges it may present, trade shows remain an effective marketing medium in the eyes of many face-to-face marketers.
With such a positive outlook, it’s not impossible to see trade show marketing growth in the coming years.
If you want to find out the reason behind these marketers’ optimism, check out the next stat:
9. Over 90% of trade show attendees say they are searching for new products.
The number one reason why people or consumers go to trade shows is to look for new products – which means business! Whether they buy from you or not during the exhibit, you got yourself some leads!
Trade show attendance statistics also indicate that by featuring your newest products or features in the event, more people will be enticed to look at your booth.
10. More than 50% of tradeshow attendees/exhibitors are in the event for the first time.
Of course, you won’t just meet new potential clients in trade shows but also new competitors in your industry.
Thus, trade shows provide a great opportunity to get a good look at the new faces in the game. Get some information on what they offer, and you can use the data to get ahead of the competition and improve your offers.
Trade Show Trends (Budgets, Booths, and New Technologies)
With respect to budget allocation, booth creation, and new technology usage, you certainly want to know the trends in the trade show industry.
Through these stats, we’ll see what the future holds for trade shows:
11. 75% of businesses envision a positive outlook for trade shows.
In general, most businesses predict a bright future for trade shows. The reasons? Aside from providing the ability to promote new products, trade shows are seen as an important tool to increase the value of face-to-face communication.
Even though new media is already here for faster business transactions and operations, face-to-face communication is the most effective tactic to connect with the audience and drive ROI.
12. Every year, US exhibitors spend $24 billion on trade show displays.
So how much do trade shows cost? If we’re gonna talk about the displays alone, exhibitors in the US spend $24 billion annually.
Average companies use 31.6% of their overall marketing budget for events and exhibits.
If you think that’s already huge, wait until you see the next stat:
13. 36% of companies will increase their trade show budget.
Companies have plans to make changes to their trade show budget.
While over one-third are thinking about increasing their trade show budget, 16% will be decreasing it probably because they don’t see trade shows that relevant anymore. What’s more, doing everything online is much easier (and maybe, cheaper).
If you’re among those who see the good in B2B trade show marketing and intend to increase your budget, you need to see this next stat:
14. The biggest part of exhibitors’ trade show budget is allocated to exhibit space.
The culprit behind the high price of exhibiting is the exhibit space itself. Nonetheless, this is important because, without it, you won’t be able to showcase your products.
But if you think the big costs end there, there are other things you need to look after.
The same study found out that 14% of the tradeshow budgets are allocated to travel and accommodation for employees, 13% for show services, while exhibit design and construction get 12% each.
You can use this information to plan your trade show budget accordingly.
15. LCDs are the most common TV displays in exhibits.
Now that we’ve mentioned exhibit design and construction, maybe you’re thinking about how to make your booth enticing.
LCD screens alone won’t make the trick, but they sure can help!
LCDs come in several types — HDTV, Full HD, and Ultra HD. And no matter which one you choose, it will be an important part of your exhibit booth or space.
LCDs might be pretty common these days, but they do capture the attention of people. You can use them to show your products, what they can do, and why people should buy them.
Sure, you have a brochure for that, stating the complete details about your product. But people want the information fast, and they can get that if you bring up the most important brand details on your LCD.
16. Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, and experiential design are some of the most anticipated trade show industry trends.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a software that has the ability to mimic human behavior, including information processing and decision making. And its arrival means less routine work for everybody.
In the trade show industry, AI can be used for automating customer service, delivering pre-show marketing messages, and processing pre-registration information.
The Internet of Things (IoT), on the other hand, can connect specific objects (that are in different locations) with the use of the internet and microchips. Ideally, they are used to conduct real-time product demonstration that takes place in a remote site, laboratory, or factory, away from the exhibition facility.
Simply put, IoT can be used to show off products that are too big for the trade show location such as construction equipment and avionic products.
And to complete the trade show booth trends, let’s not forget the experiential designs!
We know, traditional displays won’t just cut it. People are all about having a good experience, so give them a remarkable and immersive one.
Utilizing augmented or virtual reality is just one way to allow consumers to experience your product in a unique way.
There are a lot of new technologies emerging today, and all you have to do is use them to their full potential. Once you do this, don’t be surprised there’s a long queuing line of people wanting to see your event booth!
Trade Show Marketing Ideas and Best Practices
Besides following the trends, it would also be helpful to take a look at some marketing ideas and best practices to further improve your trade show experience.
Here are some of them, of course, in the form of statistics:
17. The most important factor whether to exhibit at a trade show or not is the quality of attendees
One of the reasons why businesses go to trade shows is to find new potential clients. So if they go to a trade show with attendees who don’t fit their target market, that would be a huge loss of time, effort, and money.
64% of businesses say the quality of attendees is the best reason to exhibit. So, for your next trade show, you better check the type of audience it will attract.
18. 47% of marketers value the ability to learn more about their industry when going to trade shows.
We already told you that it’s a huge loss if you don’t get to meet prospects or leads at trade shows, but it’s not a total loss after all.
Trade show stats reveal that 99% of marketers find unique value from trade shows. What’s more, 47% agree it’s the way to meet the important people in your industry. These include competitors, suppliers, and resellers.
By meeting with them, you also expand your connections and industry know-how.
19. 28% of businesses start preparing marketing materials 1-2 months prior to the trade show.
Effective marketing doesn’t happen overnight. According to nearly three out of ten businesses, it takes them one to two months to prepare.
If you think that’s long enough, you should know that 22% of businesses prepare two to four months before the trade show.
It’s up to you how long you’d like to prepare, just don’t go unprepared to protect your brand’s reputation.
20. 50% of exhibitors consider past positive performances as one of the most important factors when expanding booth size.
If you have been to a trade show before, perhaps you’re thinking whether to expand your booth or not.
Trade show industry statistics show that 50% of businesses consider their past performances when deciding about the expansion.
But that’s not the only factor they take into account. 54% consider if the ROI is favorable, and a whopping 84% say they would expand their booths if there are high-quality attendees present in the show.
So if you’re unsure about the expansion, the tip is to look at these things first before making a decision.
21. Collecting business cards remain among the most popular lead collection methods.
Despite the emergence of new tech, it’s interesting that one study included business cards among the most popular lead collection methods.
Well, some things never really change, so don’t completely abandon your business cards!
But if you’re going to feature new tech in your exhibit booth, it would be nice and appropriate to also use modern lead generation tactics.
Now for one of the most important trade show marketing best practices:
22. 40% of exhibitors follow-up leads between three to five days after the show.
5% of exhibitors conduct initial follow-up the same day the lead is collected. Although this shows persistence, potential clients may not have the time to reply or talk, as they’re probably checking out other booths.
Meanwhile, 17% say that they follow up 24-48 hours after the show, and 40% do it after three to five days.
Trade show statistics might be implying that follow-up must be done several days after the show. Just don’t wait long enough for the clients to forget about your product!
There’s a reason why it’s called a “follow-up.” If clients are highly interested in your offer, they will be the ones reaching out to you. If they don’t do that, they need time to think or review. So, follow-up a few days later.
What We Learned Today
Now you’re full of knowledge on the most important trade show stats and tips! We don’t expect you to remember all of those, so here are some key takeaways:
Both in the US and the UK, trade shows continue to be a hit. So no, it isn’t true that in-person events like these aren’t relevant anymore.
Based on the trade show statistics we’ve shown you, many businesses believe that trade fairs remain as an effective marketing channel today. This is because aside from generating leads, these events allow them to gain insights into their respective industries and competitors.
More importantly, technology will be playing a huge role in making trade fairs much more appealing to everybody. And the early adoption of the new tech will certainly give you a headstart in the next show.
Hopefully, these trade show statistics have opened your eyes to the possibilities of reaching and earning more through in-person events. We wish you the best of luck!