Every now and then it's important to take a step back and look at some of the trade show industry benchmarks.

Trade Shows By The Numbers

Every now and then it's important to take a step back and look at some of the trade show industry benchmarks. Doing so allows organizers to recalibrate their efforts to stay on top of the latest movements and strategies.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as 2016 comes to a close:

Industry growth
The trade show industry itself has grown consistently since the economic collapse of 2008. Many companies stopped their extracurricular spending during that time to recuperate corporate profit margins, and trade shows inevitably hit the chopping block. Now that the economy has recovered, they can spend more on trade shows.

According to IBISWorld, the trade show industry currently generates about $14 billion in revenue, and has grown 2.7 percent since 2011. These are healthy numbers for a market still gaining ground and proving its worth to upper managers. The source reported that rising profit margins and a boost in corporate travel means more people will visit trade shows in the coming future.

Know your prospects
Understanding how attendees spend their time and how often they visit events is key in constructing the two or three-day schedule. An Exhibit Surveys report revealed the average attendee spends just 2.3 days and 9.5 hours on an exhibition floor throughout the course of the year. Furthermore, 46 percent of all attendees visit just one show each year, meaning salespersons will have to make the first meeting count.

"Roughly half of all attendees visit just one show each year."

With this in mind, organizers should create highly detailed schedules that direct attendees to lectures, booths and other important areas of the venue without them having to search for it on his or her own. This removes the possibility of an exhibitor not receiving the maximum amount of meetings they can get, and helps attendees get the most value out of the event.

Also important to note is that roughly 4 out of every 10 attendees are first-timers, meaning almost half of all the people in a venue aren't adept at navigating a trade show. There's a lot to see and only a finite amount of time to do so. As such, organizers should implement wayfinding methods like digital or LED signage, or staffers whose sole role is to assist attendees in finding certain products or booths.

Make better pitches
Organizers searching for industry statistics to show to new or potential exhibitors needn't look any further. According to Exhibit Surveys, 71 percent of attendees received excellent or very good value from the average trade show. Furthermore, 67 percent will definitely or most likely return the following year.

What this boils down to is the fact that trade shows are providing real value to the companies attending, which in turn means more booth visitors with buying authority. In fact, Exhibit Surveys reported 82 percent of all attendees had buying power in 2015, and 51 percent had plans to purchase a product. If a company is on the edge about presenting, consider showing them these statistics to prove they can gain a return on investment if they play their cards right.

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