There is a lot of good news out there for the overall health of the economy. Each day, we’re seeing statistics about businesses, manufacturers and the travel industry all showing signs of a strong rapid recovery. This activity is driving a resurgence in our industry – the event and experiential marketing sector. It’s great to see crowds at sporting events and the concert business is ramping up quickly. The next area of rapid growth will be trade shows.
Trade shows are an $11 billion industry, and since 2020 was a lost year for trade shows, there is a significant push to get shows up and running again. Right now, there are literally hundreds of articles about how the trade show business will return and what things will look like in the second half of 2021 and into 2022. After reviewing an extensive amount of information from top publications and industry professionals, there are some common themes that many people seem to agree on. To help save you time, here is a summary of three top trade show predictions for 2021:
Everyone Sees The Importance Of In-Person Attendance At Trade Shows. Without question, virtual meetings, seminars and conferences have been a success for many people and companies over the past year, and everyone will agree this “virtual meeting universe” is now a staple of the new norm. However, there is no denying that live interaction cannot be replaced, and these benefits will bring trade shows roaring back to life.
One recent article outlined three ways live participation at trade shows drive sales:
- Continued sales to existing customers (relationships matter).
- Sales to new buyers dissatisfied with their current providers.
- Buyers attracted to a new offering.
(Read the whole article in Forbes here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/billconerly/2021/03/01/trade-shows-will-regain-importance-after-the-covid-pandemic/?sh=6a989353792e)
How Trade Shows Look in 2021 Will Be A Mixed Bag of Styles, Sizes and Activities. One of the top industry news sources is The Trade Show News Network. After conducting interviews with several top companies and executives over the past few months, they are making some predictions on how trade shows will look in 2021. Here are 5 key takeaways:
- Some Events Won’t Change Much. Industries that rely on tactile experiences and are designed to produce bulk orders will look like past shows.
- Exhibitors Need To Move Outside the Box. Many experts see companies expanding their messaging and activities outside of the trade show booth.
- Creating A Better Experience Will and Should Be A Key Element. Cookie cutter shows and activities will not be effective anymore. Brands will need be more intentional engaging with their audience.
- Crowds Will Be Smaller, But Maybe Better. Travel costs and time will limit some attendee numbers, but those that do go will be more engaged and more likely to sign deals.
- Shows Will Regionalize. There could be a shift to smaller regionalized events and not one huge national event. This approach could improve participation for more companies and make networking more effective.
(Here is a link to the full article: https://www.tsnn.com/index.php/news/future-trade-shows-part-i)
Technology will play a bigger roll moving forward. Interactive content and technology have been growing in trade show booths for several years, but most experts expect this trend to accelerate in 2021. Show attendees will have a deeper and more memorable experience with increased use of motion-based displays, augmented reality (AR) elements and immersive virtual reality (VR) content. (Here is a link to a good article about technology at trade shows: https://www.artanddisplay.com/trade-shows-trends-in-2021/)
One thing everyone agrees on is there will be an abundance of trade show activity in the next 12-18 months. Regardless of the size of the show or a brand’s budget, Elation Digital has a proven track record of helping exhibit builders and brands create interactive experiences that engage attendees, increase leads and make lasting memories. Email us at Team@elationdigital to discuss your upcoming event.