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Trade Show Exhibitor Survey 2022

2022 was very much the year that trade shows and exhibitions got back to business after years of disruption brought on by Covid-19.

Our Covid trade show survey showed that many businesses were looking forward to the return of real events – with 95% of respondents preferring in-person to virtual events. This year’s survey looks to find out the changes in exhibiting and whether in-person events still have the same appeal.

Some huge industry events were taking place for the first time in over two years so would they still be as valuable as they were pre-pandemic? We surveyed some regular exhibitors to find out their thoughts:

Returning Trade Shows Help Generate New Leads & Brand Awareness

Returning Trade Shows Help Generate New Leads & Brand Awareness

We asked how the return of in-person trade shows in 2022 benefited businesses. The overwhelming majority of respondents responded that the return of trade shows helped them generate more leads (70%) and brand awareness (70%) over the past year.

This shows the importance of trade shows for businesses looking to increase both awareness about their product and convert this interest into customers.

In addition, 22% of exhibitors said they met new suppliers and 12% learnt new skills at trade shows, showing that these events also have advantages beyond simply making sales.

10% of respondents chose ‘other’ options for advantages of the return of trade shows, with the majority of these relating to the benefit of engaging with their customer base - for example getting valuable in-person feedback on products and services which can help develop brand strategy going forward.

Staff Gain Valuable Sales Skills from Trade Shows

Staff Gain Valuable Sales Skills from Trade Shows

As well as generating new leads, trade shows are also a valuable exercise for staff, with 68% of respondents saying that working at a trade show helped them gain sales skills.

On top of this, 58% of regular exhibitors said that their team benefitted from gaining additional product knowledge at trade shows.

Trade shows usually feature expert talks, seminars and workshops which staff can attend and 54% of exhibitors said their team gained industry knowledge from attending trade shows.

Finally, the importance of team bonding cannot be overstated, on the shared objectives of a trade show and developing positive work relationships, with 50% of respondents stating team bonding as a benefit.

Most Plan to Exhibit at More Trade Shows in 2023

Most Plan to Exhibit at More Trade Shows in 2023

64% of the regular exhibitors we surveyed planned to exhibit at more shows in 2023 than in 2022. 2022 may have been the year when exhibitors dipped their toes back in the water, but it seems the positive results have convinced them to increase the number of trade shows they display at in 2023.

Only 6% of respondents planned to exhibit at less trade shows in 2023, with 30% planning to exhibit at the same number as in 2022.

Overall, the results are very positive for the exhibition industry, showing that the time away from in-person events seems to have strengthened the importance of trade show exhibiting.

Charges for Floorspace the Biggest Issue

Charges for Floorspace the Biggest Issue

It’s important for trade show organisers to understand the problems exhibitors can face at their venues, in order to be able to improve the experience for them.

The biggest difficulty with exhibition venues was found to be charges for floorspace & utilities with 72% of respondents saying this was an issue.

Whilst the benefits of exhibiting at a trade show are clear, the high cost of purchasing floor space may put off some businesses.

The next biggest issue was transport to the venue, with 26% saying this was an issue for them. This can often be a difficult task if you have a large trade show stand and your exhibiting space is not near an access point.

Tied with this was WiFi access with 26% of respondents citing this as a problem – many exhibition venues charge for WiFi access which can be patchy.

6% of those surveyed said catering and other facilities were an issue, with 4% saying disability access needed improving.

Finally, 12% of respondents chose ‘other’ as a response, with accommodation around the venue the main issue. This can often be booked up months in advance before major events, with major price inflation on those left available.

Sustainable Exhibiting on the Agenda

Sustainable Exhibiting on the Agenda

There’s no doubt that exhibiting at a trade show can be harmful to the environment, with factors such as transport to the venue and single-use marketing materials having a damaging effect in terms of emissions and creating landfill.

This was reflected in the survey results, with 92% of regular exhibitors making efforts to be more sustainable when exhibiting in the future.

Steps to improve sustainability for exhibitors include:

Conclusion: 2022 was the Year Trade Shows Roared Back to Life

It’s clear from the findings in the survey that many business benefited from the return of trade shows after the disruption caused by Covid-19.

The survey results showed benefits for both generating new business and in developing new skills for their sales teams.

Despite this, it’s clear that common problems are still evident, with the high cost of floorspace and sustainability high on the agenda for exhibitors.Please feel free to use this data on your site, with reference to Display Wizard.

For any enquiries about the data, please email marketing@displaywizard.co.uk

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