Industry Trends: What’s in Store for 2009 & Beyond?

The Economy: It’s an all too familiar term. One that laments the rolling of eyes as it grows seemingly like a trend. There’s no doubt we’re in the midst of worldwide financial turmoil and it has certainly has not spared the tradeshow industry. According to Tradeshow Week, consumer shows have dropped 1.3 percent from 2008. Many shows have collocated including the International Housewares Show & Travel Goods Show, not to mention the recent merging of GES & ExhibitGroup/Giltspur, which will combine resources in their own effort to fight the decline. But despite the doom & gloom, there are statistics that speak a deeper contrary to the obvious sentiments.
Take a look at these statistics from Exhibit Surveys, which detail the recent exhibit attraction values from the past year. In essence, attendees are becoming more in tune with the exhibitors they visit with an increase of product awareness, demonstrations, exhibit design and graphics, pre and post show promotion and exhibit size.

Additionally, there has been a large increase over the past 3 years in regards to attendee value. This data implies that to combat budgetary restrictions, organizations are reserving travel and tradeshow expenses to key individuals involved in the purchasing process.

There have been recent event stories that support these claims. Take for example a recent article from ICIS which details that, despite a decline in attendance from previous years, the recent NPE show in Chicago saw a positive exhibitor response to the quality of their attendees and cited a notable increase in the percentage of viable leads.

These trends are indicative of an event industry that, while may still be in a mode of recovery, is likely to see more signs of relief as the year progresses. There is little doubt that an upswing, despite it’s path towards reclamation, is inevitable. The bigger question may be: What are you doing NOW to position your organization at the front of that swing?

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