Did you know that businesses have been using trade shows as their go-to marketing strategy for years?
And that’s not all:
In addition to their sales, businesses also use trade shows to meet and greet customers, probe the market, and see what their competitors are up to.
But given the state of the digitally-focused world we live in, is it time for businesses to re-evaluate their marketing strategy and focus their efforts elsewhere?
Let’s find out.
We’re about to dive into the arena of trade show statistics. Take a deep breath because you’re about to be plunged headfirst into the ocean of trade show statistics 2019 revealed to us.
Fascinating Trade Show Statistics and Facts (Editor’s Choice)
- In 2016, trade shows generated more than $12.8 billion US dollars.
- 31% of marketing professionals believe trade shows are essential.
- Marketers and exhibitors attend an average of 8 international trade shows per year.
- 46% of trade show attendees are in executive or upper management positions.
- 13,000 trade shows take place in the US every year.
- The average trade show attendee spends 8.3 hours viewing booths.
- 92% of trade show attendees attend to see what’s new.
- 5 to 6 leads per hour can be generated by one member of staff at a trade show.
General Trade Show Statistics
The world of trade show marketing is a wonderful place. And these stats prove it:
1. US companies have an average trade show budget of $2.5 million.
American companies have huge trade show budgets. After reading that amount it’s hard to see why people wonder if trade show marketing is still a thing.
2. Revenue created by trade shows increased by 1.6% in 2019.
At the end of 2019’s first quarter, the revenue created by trade shows increased by 1.6% compared to the end of 2018’s first quarter. While this doesn’t seem like a substantial growth, slow and steady wins the race.
3. 92% of all trade show attendees attend to see what’s new.
(Source: Spin Go)
Nearly all people who attend trade shows do so to check out what new products and services are on offer. Not only does this mean that you have the perfect opportunity to unveil a new product or service, but it also means that you’re giving trade show attendees what they want most.
4. Only 3% of small businesses rely on trade shows to effectively grow business.
A tiny minority of American small businesses rely on trade shows to grow their business, while small business statistics suggest a whopping 51% of them rely on social media to grow their business.
Trade Show Marketing Statistics
We hope you enjoyed those general trade show statistics above and are ready to take a closer look at the marketing side of things.
5. 31% of event professionals believe trade shows are essential.
(Source: Marketing Charts)
Nearly one-third of event professionals believe the following are essential to successfully reach their target market: trade shows, conferences, conventions. While 42% of them don’t think trade shows are essential, they still find them valuable.
6. 6% of marketers feel trade show leads translate into conversions extremely well.
(Source: Marketing Charts)
Only a small minority of marketers feel that the leads generated at trade shows convert into business extremely well. The rest feel they do so moderately well (27%) and that they’re improving (41%).
7. Just under 30% of trade show exhibitors plan their marketing 1 to 2 months before the show.
(Source: Display Wizard)
To be exact, 28% of trade show exhibitors start planning and preparing their marketing 1 to 2 months before the show, while 22% begin their preparation two to four months before the show. 18% begin their planning 4 to 6 months before and 19% start their planning a whole 6 to 12 months before! If you’re a last minute planner – you fall into the remaining 3% who begin their planning the week before the show.
Trade Show Growth/Revenue
Before we write trade shows off as part of our marketing strategies, we should take a closer look at the numbers. Let’s examine the facts and figures on ROI, growth, and industry revenue. Here are some numbers that speak to trade show marketing growth.
8. Attendance rate is the number one trade show ROI metric.
How do companies measure trade show ROI? Well, in this case the numbers speak for themselves. Attendance is the leading ROI metric used to determine the success of a trade show. After attendance come attendee satisfaction, revenue generated, and the number of leads generated.
9. Trade shows generated upwards of $12.8 billion in 2016.
If you think trade shows aren’t money-making machines, you’re sorely mistaken. In 2016, trade shows generated nearly $13 billion. This makes trade shows one of the most profitable B2B strategies in the US.
10. The number of attendees increased by 3.2% in Q4 2019.
(Source: Trade Show News Network)
The number of people who attended trade shows continues to grow steadily. Despite a worrying financial landscape and challenging political conditions, the trade show industry is not in decline.
Trade Show Attendance Statistics
Now that we’re armed with a little more information about trade shows and their important statistics, let’s take a look at those who attend them.
11. 46% of trade show attendees are in executive or upper management positions.
(Source: Excalibur Exhibits)
Nearly half of all trade show attendees are in executive or upper management positions. If you’ve ever battled to get hold of the “right person” with the required buying power in an organization, you’ll appreciate this statistic greatly.
12. Marketers and exhibitors attend an average of 8 international trade shows per year.
What’s more, at a national level, they attended 14 national trade shows and approximately 23 trade shows in their region.
13. The average trade show attendee will spend 8.3 hours viewing trade show exhibits.
(Source: Spin Go)
The average attendee of a trade show event spends plenty of time to find a booth they like, so make sure yours is attractive.
14. 34% of American trade show attendees are very satisfied with the trade show offering.
(Source: Hill & Partners)
On a global level, trade shows attendees are satisfied with their typical trade show experience. In America, about one-third of trade show attendees are very satisfied with the overall experience of attending a trade show.
Trade Show Benefits
So just how beneficial is B2B trade show marketing you might be wondering. Keep reading to find out.
15. One member of staff at a trade show can generate an average of 5 to 6 leads per hour.
(Source: Expo Stars)
The selling process at a trade show takes place over the course of a maximum of 6 minutes. According to these lead generation statistics, just one properly trained staff member can generate half a dozen leads in one hour, which means that by the end of the 8 hour day that sole staff member could have generated between 40 and 80 leads.
16. 74% of attendees say they’re more likely to purchase products promoted at a trade show.
If you’re looking to sell more products, look no further than promoting them at a trade show. Most trade show attendees have the intent to purchase goods, and just shy of three-quarters say they’re more likely to purchase products that have been displayed & promoted at a trade show.
17. A face-to-face prospect meeting costs an average of $142.
(Source: Spin Go)
Trade shows provide you with a cost effective way to take part in face-to-face meetings with prospects. Meeting a prospect at a trade show costs an average of $142, while meeting one at their office will cost approximately $259.
2020 Trade Show Trends
Now that we’ve taken a good look at the trade show statistics 2019 revealed, it’s time to look forward to see what 2020 has in store for the trade show industry.
18. A 6% increase in the number of trade shows can be expected in 2020.
(Source: American Express Business Travel)
A steady increase in the number of trade shows has been predicted for 2020 in Central and South America. On a global level, when asked how optimistic they feel about the health of the events industry on a scale of 1 to 10, 70% of trade show attendees rated their overall level of optimism as an 8 or higher.
19. The conventions and events industry is expected to expand by 44% from 2010 to 2020.
(Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
The number of people employed in the convention and events industry is expected to expand by 44% from 2010 to 2020. This level of projected growth is much higher than the growth of other industries.
20. The revenue generated by trade show organizers will amount to $15.77 billion in 2020.
Forecasts indicate that the revenue generated by trade show organizers will amount to a whopping $15.77 billion in 2020. This is certainly not the projection of a dying industry, that’s for sure.
Is your brain still swimming with unanswered trade show questions? Fear not: we’re here to answer them for you.
Q: How many trade shows are there in the US?
A: The US represents almost half of all the trade shows that take place all over the world. It’s estimated that a tentative 13,000 trade shows take place in the US every year. The trade show market size in the US is one of the biggest in the world.
Q: How much do trade shows cost?
A: If you plan on exhibiting at a trade show, you can expect to pay between $100 to $150 per square foot for your display. On top of the exhibit rental, which gobbles up 33% of most trade show budgets, you’ll need to pay for the construction of the booth and its graphics.
Q: What are trade show marketing best practices that should be followed?
A: For a trade show to be successful, a solid marketing strategy needs to be implemented. The best practices for your trade show marketing strategy include:
- Having a clear idea of why you’re holding a trade show and what your desired results are.
- Setting up appointments with influential people and existing customers as far in advance as possible.
- Establishing a metric that will help you to confirm whether or not your trade show efforts have paid off.
- Making sure you’re remembered by those who visit your booth by giving them something to physically walk away with such as a branded pen or gadget.
- Striking while the iron is hot and following up with any leads that were obtained at the trade show promptly.
Q: What were the trade show booth trends for 2019?
A: If you’re looking for trade show marketing ideas, you’ll find them in the answer to this question. The trade show booth trends for 2019 were all related to customer experience. The most popular booths at 2019 trade shows included those with back-lit displays, subtle branding, comfortable seating options, and those that provided refreshments to their visitors.
To Sum Up
Congratulations – You’ve made it to the end of this article! Trade show industry trends really are a fascinating topic, aren’t they?
Now to answer the $64,000 question:
Should trade shows form part of a business’s marketing strategy?
After analyzing all of these trade show statistics it’s safe to say that trade shows, while not quite as popular as they once were, are still valid, relevant, and highly effective marketing strategies.