Trade shows performed well in the second quarter of this year and are projected to continue growing. While there are a few declines, overall attendance, revenues and sponsorships are up in most markets.
Below is an executive overview of various reports, along with five conclusions (based on the data) that I have made which may be useful in your planning efforts for upcoming trade shows.
Source #1: CEIR
The Center for Exhibition Research (CEIR) compared second quarter year-to-year growth of the industry and found the following:
- Attendance grew 1.9%
- Real revenues shot up 1.9%
- Net square footage expanded 1.8%
- Exhibitors increased modestly by 0.7%
The segments with the largest growth were:
- Sporting Goods
- Travel and Amusement
- Raw Materials and Science
The segments with the largest decline were:
- Real Estate
Source #2: Trade Show Executive
According to Trade Show Executive’s June Dashboard Metrics of actual events, they found:
- 34.4% exhibit space increase for the Police Security Expo
- 32.6% attendance boost at the Government Fleet & Expo Conference
- 21.1% sponsorship surge at the American Physical Therapy Association NEXT Conference
- 0.5% increase in exhibit space for the Summer Fancy Food Show
Per their TSE Gold 100 index they found June trade show performance overall showed a:
- 2% increase in exhibit space
- 0.8% upsurge in attendance
- 0.3% rise in exhibitors
They also found the top three cities to host trade shows, in descending order, were:
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
Source #3: Exhibit Sales Roundtable
According to the 2018 Benchmarks & Trends in Exhibit and Sponsorship Sales Survey of 164 organizations, of which the majority were association organizers, they found exhibitor space and sponsorships offer the following trends:
- 72% said their exhibitor space sales grew in 2018
- 67% noted a rise in sponsorship revenues because of new offerings
- 63% are negotiating exclusive sponsorship deals
- 61% of exhibitors and sponsors want to speak as part of their package
- 47% attributed exhibitor growth to aggressive sales efforts
- 22% are downsizing exhibit space
- 15% said exhibitor space declined, naming lack of growth in their industry as the reason
- 13% stated booth space stayed the same because of competing events
- 8% showed a decline in sponsorship revenues
What does it mean for your trade show planning efforts?
- Pay attention to your industry and set realistic growth goals.
Remember, while the news is generally positive, there are some industries where trade shows are not growing.
- Exhibitors may be interested in larger spaces.
While the overall increase in exhibitors is modest, the amount of space each one uses may be attractive to them, especially if they are displaying technology rentals.
- Sponsorship offerings need to be fresh.
Find new avenues to attract sponsors and offer them things that will bring them the greatest ROI.
- Consider exclusive packages.
Sponsors want to keep their competition out – ensure them that will happen if they commit to a certain dollar amount.
- Keep your sales efforts strong.
Obtaining sponsorships is hard work and takes time. By being aggressive and offering the type of packages companies desire, you should see an uptick in sales for your event.
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