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Chart of the week: are trade show exhibitor levels back?

Exhibitor confidence about participation in future trade shows is close to pre-pandemic levels, according to a new survey.

Findings from the Global Recovery Insights 2021 report shows 62% of exhibitors intend to exhibit with the same or increased frequency in future events.

The percentage of exhibitors looking to participate “much more frequently” has risen to 10% compared to 4% in 2019 and 2020.

UFI and Explori surveyed 15,000 trade show visitors and exhibitors across 30 countries to assess the industry recovery as physical events make a comeback. 

What’s behind the figures?

Live trade shows are still the go-to medium for business networking, brand exposure and lead generation.

Exhibitors are eager to invest in shows that focus on visitor quality over the volume of participation.  

Most have been slow to adapt to the digital format and are reserving their major budgets for in-person events.

The lower Net Promoter Scores (NPS) for digital events has also made exhibitors wary of participating in online or hybrid shows – instead preferring pure live experiences.

Meanwhile, spending cuts for trade shows are projected to decline to 41% from 50% in 2020. 

In comparison, virtual events are not expected to see any increase in spend.

What does it mean for event organisers?

The power of face-to-face interactions weighs heavily on exhibitor sentiments to return to in-person events.

There has been no substantial shift to the virtual format despite predictions suggesting so over the past – live experiences are back with a bang.

However, that doesn’t mean organisers should completely ditch digital.

A big advantage of the online medium lies in enhancing physical events by providing a year-round community experience.

Organisers can use 365 online platforms to help their audience meet, connect and do business throughout the year as well as promote their flagship shows.

Here’s a lowdown of the various ways these platforms can improve your value proposition:

Always-available marketplace: visitors can discover new products and services any time of the year while exhibitors get access to a pool of qualified leads.

AI matchmaking: advanced networking functionality to connect visitors to relevant companies, products, services and content.

New revenue streams: sponsorship programmes like digital advertising for suppliers to showcase their products, profiles and content.  

Content hub: improve buyer purchase intent by providing access to educational materials and tutorials.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful. At ExpoPlatform, we want to help you build better events and communities. Please get in touch and ask for a demo here. Thank you.