A Guide to Trade Shows and Expos

Trade Shows and Expos

In a marketplace filled with millions of products and services, it can be hard for companies to stand out. Professional buyers and consumers can find it difficult to find the right product to transform their lives.

Trade shows and expos are becoming more popular to overcome these challenges. They bring together industry professionals and companies in one place to exhibit new products and discover innovative solutions.

This article will explain what trade shows and exhibitions are and what format is best. It also discusses who attends these events. We will also discuss what attendees and companies hope to achieve by attending trade shows. Examples of popular trade shows are provided. Finally, we will show you how event management software can be used to help organizers get the most from their next event.

What is a trade show and an expo?

Expos and Trade Show are large-scale events where professionals gather to share new products, exchange ideas, meet others in the industry, learn, upskill and help companies establish new connections with potential buyers.

Trade shows allow companies to showcase their products and services to a large audience. Expos also give attendees the opportunity to learn about many of the offerings. It is not surprising that there is a growing market for trade shows.

Statista reports that the global B2B market was worth $34.4 billion in 2019, and will surpass $40 billion by 2023. This steady growth is despite the impact of the pandemic on in-person events.

Which formats are the best and who goes to trade shows?

Some trade shows are only for business buyers. Others are open to the public. You can expect to meet a wide range of people at these events.

  • Product exhibitors
  • Professionals in the industry
  • Media
  • Executives
  • Influencers on social media
  • Buyers for businesses
  • Resellers of value-added products
  • Consumers
  • Celebrities, entertainers, artists
  • VIPs
  • Speakers

Trade shows and expos are usually in-person events that take over multiple days in large venues and convention centers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some trade shows have adopted hybrid and virtual formats in recent years.

What are the objectives for a trade show?

Expo organizers and exhibitors have different goals.

  • Organizers For most trade shows and exhibitions, the organizer’s primary goal will be to make money from ticket sales. Event marketers with tradeshow certifications are often responsible for creating buzz and revenue. Event organizers also want to generate leads, raise brand awareness and demonstrate thought leadership. Organizers also seek sponsors to keep costs down.
  • Attendees – Whether they are media professionals or business buyers, trade shows are a great place to find out about new products. They are also interested in networking and generating leads for themselves as well as other professionals in the industry. Sometimes, attendees might be just interested in viewing the projects of their competitors .
  • Exhibitors Businesses that are willing to display their products or services at trade shows have a desire to make money, generate leads and maintain existing relationships. The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group states that the top three reasons exhibitors attend trade shows and expos are to raise brand awareness (88%), generate new leads (72%), or meet existing clients (65%).

Are there any examples of trade shows and expos?

According to a recent Center for Exhibition Industry Research report, there are approximately 9400 B2B trade shows and expos each year in the United States. Here’s a list of three most-respected trade shows and expos to give you an idea of their nature.

1. Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which dates back to 1967, attracted 45,000 people and 2,300 exhibitors in 2022. These included Sony, Qualcomm, Samsung and LG. Note: These numbers have dropped from January 2020 which had 171,000 attendees and 4,400 booths at the previous in-person event. Each January, the Consumer Technology Association hosts the event in Las Vegas. It is one of the most well-known trade shows.

2. Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo

The Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo brings together supply chain professionals, procurement heads, manufacturers and logistics professionals to exchange ideas on building resilient and more efficient supply networks. The trade show was focused on helping supply chain executives manage risk, speed digital transformation and make sustainability a foundation of their operations in 2022.


SXSW Festival is an annual festival that showcases the best in music, technology and media. SXSW was founded in 1987 and features many exhibitions. The Creative Industries Expo is where startups and other exhibitors display their products to thousands of people. The event was attended by prominent players such as Husqvarna, WeTransfer and Indeed.