What Can Recent Stats Teach Us About The Trade Show Industry and Where it Stands?

May 13, 2022

It has been a tumultuous couple of years for trade shows and live marketing events. The looming question for 2022 has event marketers and planners asking: where do trade shows stand?

Steelhead is here to break down trends and statistics from reputable resources like Hopin and EXHIBITOR Magazine as we examine where the trade show industry has been and, more importantly, where it’s going.

Statistics from industry resources like Hopin’s whitepaper and EXHIBITOR’s February/March 2022 issue offer insight into the trade show industry. Here are the top five things we’ve learned so far:

(For our full resource on The Current State of Events in 2022, click here.)

1.      Many companies have returned to the trade show space, and decision-makers are the main attendees.

  • EXHIBITOR says 7 out of 10 exhibiting companies are back to in-person trade shows and events, and another 18% will join them mid-year (37).
  • Since many people can attend virtual events, Hopin says the landscape “will change as new hybrid events focus on a smaller number of people in-person—think VIPs—reducing the total size of the in-person event component by as much as 50-70%+” (7).

2.      Nothing can replace face-to-face marketing.

  • UFI’s Global Barometer reported that “57% of North American companies say virtual events will not replace in-person events.”
  •  “Since trade shows reopened, the Las Vegas Convention Center has hosted more than 50 expos and events with more than700,000 attendees, demonstrating the pent-up demand for face-to-face marketing”(EXHIBITOR 23).

3.      Hybrid and virtual events are hereto stay.

  • “In fact, 65% of planners said they want to hold more hybrid events as a result of the pandemic according to a 2021 PCMAstudy5” (Hopin 4).  
  • “According to the CMO Council report ‘NextGen Events: Optimized for Outcomes,’ 71% of marketers plan to continue experimenting with various event formats, including virtual, hybrid, roadshows, etc.” (EXHIBITOR 23).

4.      Virtual events are a popular supplement to in-person shows.

  • Virtual events are popular due to a “wider audience reach, cost savings, higher ROI, better access to speakers, easier planning and execution, more granular event analytics, enhanced attendee engagement, more effective sponsorship opportunities, and environmental sustainability” (Hopin 4).
  • Allied Market Research anticipates that “the market for corporate digital events will increase by approximately 120% in the next five years6” (Hopin 4).

5.      The trade show industry’s just getting warmed up.

  • “The market size of the Trade Show and Conference Planning industry in the US has grown 0.7% per year on average between 2017 and 2022” (IBISWorld).
  • “The market size of the Trade Show and Conference Planning industry is expected to increase 22.3% in 2022” (IBISWorld).
The bottom line? When asked where trade shows stand, the stats show that they’re not standing - they’re running.
Be sure to check out our FREE resource here on the complete Current State of Events in 2022.
May 13, 2022
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