The Top Trade Show Events to Attend
The Top Trade Show Events to Attend
Trade show events are a great way to research new connections, products and potential business partners, but not all trade shows are created equal. Some set the standard for their industries, while others are unfortunately forgettable.
At their best, trade shows bring the leaders and innovators of a particular industry into one place. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, 85% of key business decision makers prefer trade shows because they save company time by gathering relevant connections together. Also, ninety-one percent of attendees use trade shows to make important buying decisions because they can compare prices and products while there.
As industry leaders in the market of trade show exhibit design, we know what separates a good exhibit display from a sub-par one. This guide on the top trade shows worth attending will help you discover some of the most dynamic places for conducting business. Not every trade show listed will make sense for you and your business, but we included the finest representations of various industries.
Let’s explore the top trade shows worth attending.
The international Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the most important and exciting trade shows in the world, where the latest and most exciting consumer technologies are put on display. It’s held in Las Vegas annually, and it has been a gathering of tech innovators for over 40 years. According to the Trade Show News Network (TSNN), the CES drew over 3,500 exhibitors and 100,000 attendees in 2015.
The most popular displays at the 2016 CES included security technology and the latest in virtual reality tech. Some of the highest end displays featured robotics, drone technology, and smart technology integrated into unexpected products, including bras and pregnancy tests.
Not every gadget on display at CES will make its way into the big box stores or Christmas stockings, but there is no better place to present or view the latest tech than at CES.
Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market
While CES might be the place to see the latest in tech gadgets, the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market — often referred to simply as AmericasMart after the location of show — is the place to see the latest in interior design and home goods.
AmericasMart is open year round and is one of the largest wholesale markets in the world. It opened in 1957 and hosts a number of wholesale design shows throughout the year, but one is more important than the International Gift & Home Furnishings Market, which is offered twice a year.
Whether your design tastes are modern or classic, there are sure to be showrooms that match your style. Presentations range from branding, interior design, antiquing and even cooking demonstrations.
TSNN notes that around 2,500 exhibitors and 90,000 attendees make their way to the Market.
MAGIC Market Week
MAGIC Market Week is the most important international gathering of apparel and footwear professionals. It’s here that designers, manufacturers and retailers come together to see what’s next in fashion.
This trade show is a wonderful combination of raw materials and fabrics, finished but not yet merchandised designs, and finished products looking for retail space. If you’re a designer looking to make it big or a retailer trying to make sure your store is stocked with the latest trends, this is the must-see show of the year.
TSNN lists the exhibitor numbers as being close to 6,000 and attendees numbering just under 75,000. Additionally, over 80 countries are represented among the attendees. The show is held twice a year in Las Vegas.
National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention & EXPO
The National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention & EXPO, colloquially known at “Retail’s Big Show,” is the most important retail event of the year. Hosted by the world’s largest retail trade association, it brings together department stores, online retailers, grocery stores, chain restaurants, catalog companies and independent retailers.
The show has been going on since the NRF — then called National Retail Dry Goods Association — was formed in 1911. The show is held annually in New York City, and is an important opportunity for professional networking, education and one of the best displays of technology and solution exhibits. According to the NRF Big Show event page, over 300 speakers, 500 exhibitors and 33,000 attendees are expected for January’s 2017 event.
Specialty Equipment Market Association
The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) is the most important automotive specialty parts trade show, and is a wonderful meeting of retailers and gear heads. Held in Las Vegas, it is the place to be if you are looking to supply or purchase aftermarket automobile parts. The TSNN lists just under 2,500 exhibitors and well over 150,000 attendees at the 2015 SEMA show.
This is an especially good show for people who want to see the limitlessness of aftermarket auto customization. The show began in 1967 in Los Angeles and has yearly expanded into one of the largest and most well attended shows in all of Las Vegas.
National Association of Broadcasters
The annual meeting of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is the world’s largest electronic media show. Under the tagline “Where Content Comes to Life,” this gathering of storytellers and filmed media professionals is an important place for understanding both the power and future trends within electronic media.
Filmed media is finding new presentation forums in broadcast television or streaming media. New technologies and methodologies continue to innovate content presentation, so it’s important for anyone in the industry to continue to engage with trendsetters on a regular basis.
The NAB show site boasts attendance from over 100,000 industry professionals from over 160 countries. Additionally, there are over 750 skill building sessions and 1,700 exhibits. One of the strengths of this show is the way it brings together people from the entire chain of the life of content, from its creation, management, monetization, distribution and consumption.
National Restaurant Association International Foodservice Marketplace
If you are in the food service business, make your way to Chicago for the annual National Restaurant Association (NRA) show. Whether you’re looking for the latest food presentation methods, the newest technologies for food service, or networking opportunities with vendors and food supply professionals, this is the place to do it.
According to the TSNN, there are over 2000 exhibitors on display with over 40,000 attendees making their way through the exhibit hall. There are also a number of unique educational opportunities for people looking to stay on trend in the foodservice industry.
Mid-America Trucking Show
Held in Louisville, Kentucky, the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) is the largest heavy-duty trucking show in the world. Over 1,000 exhibitors spread out over a million square feet of floor space, according to the MATS show site, making this an incredible display of the power and future of American trucking.
The show began in 1972 in order to allow the trucking industry to display its latest products and ideas. Combining innovative displays, hands-on demos and unrivaled networking opportunities, it’s a great way for trucking enthusiasts to gather and engage as they travel the road toward what’s to come in the industry.
International Home + Housewares Show
From the latest tools in the kitchen to the must-have home electronic gadgets, the International Home + Housewares Show is the best place to discover the newest must-haves for making home living a little easier and more exciting. Held in Chicago, displays range from carpet care to home food preparation, household cleaning products to home organization, pet supplies to home healthcare.
With over 2000 exhibitors and 40,000 attendees, according to TSNN, the International Home + Housewares Show is one of the most important gatherings for both retailers and manufacturers of housewares. Featuring everything from cooking demos to keynote addresses on the state of the industry, this show has it all when it comes to homeware innovation and retailing.
The Green Industry and Equipment Expo is the most important trade show for outdoor power tool and landscaping equipment. Retailers, manufacturers, rental suppliers and distributors are all in attendance, making this the best place to discover the latest tools for professional and high-end landscaping, hardscaping and light construction.
According to the GIE+EXPO site, the show features a 19-acre outdoor demo area, exhaustive educational presentations and over 750 displays. One of the highlights is the New Products Showcase, which puts all of the best and most exciting tools and machines on display. Here you can connect with the top manufacturers in the industry, giving you a leg up in your outdoor construction and maintenance business.
Why the Best Shows Are the Most Important
Regardless of your industry, you want to engage with the best trade shows in your field. The best trade shows have the largest representation. By bringing together the majority of an industry, attendees can gain the best sense of the state of that industry. It’s a great way to get an idea of who’s who in the field, while also keeping tabs on the latest trends.
Bringing people from across the globe into one place, the best trade shows provide unparalleled networking opportunities. You can spend time face to face with people you might not ever meet under normal circumstances. Trade shows represent a unique opportunity for seeing the entire length of an industry. Everyone from the innovators and developers to the retailers and consumers are present — this kind of horizontal scope is impossible anywhere else.
Trade shows are important for the leading brands within various industries, so you will see manufacturers and industry leaders presenting their best ideas and products. The big reveal is an important part of product life cycles and an essential branding opportunity. In other words, if you want to be in the know, you should attend the best trade shows — where next best thing is first presented.
Trade shows are bustling with energy — both exhibitors and attendees engage with the freshest and most innovative ideas. The electricity in the air is palpable. People demo the latest devices, giving you a chance to handle products that may not be available in the retail market for years. Presenters put on a show in an effort to ramp up public interest. If you have never been to a trade show, there really isn’t anything quite like it.
How to Make an Impression at a Show
If you are ready to become an exhibitor at a trade show, regardless of the show’s size, make sure you don’t get lost in the crowd. Many exhibitors compete for attention on a crowded expo floor, so you have to do what you can to stand out.
Trust APG Exhibits
APG Exhibits has over 30 years of experience using innovative and beautiful exhibit displays. With a number of fully customizable options, your vision will be realized at the next trade show. Whether you’re a small company looking to make a first impression or an established brand looking to dominate your corner of the expo hall, we have the perfect exhibit display product to fit your needs.
If you’re unsure of what direction to take your display, you can also depend on our excellent and easy to use design services ranging from easy-to-use templates to full-service design consultation. Our design team has worked with brands from countless industries, so we can harness your voice in a way that makes your brand stand out in your target market.
Our exhibit products are designed to fit into a wide variety of contexts. We offer a number of large scale structures that can be customized to fully represent your brand aesthetic. We also offer smaller pop up displays that are portable and easy to use in a variety of contexts and a wide range of outdoor displays that are constructed of durable materials capable of standing up to the weather. Finally, we offer a number of accessories, such as display lighting and branded trade show giveaways.