Trade shows have been around for hundreds of years, and for good reason. There’s something about meeting people face to face that can really encourage you to try something new.

You can think of trade shows like the professional version of Comic Con. It’s the chance for people in the same industry to mix, mingle, and see what’s new and exciting.

Few people know just how amazing trade shows really are, so let’s dive into some of the most fascinating stats. You might just be ready to try this marketing strategy for your own business!

Why people go to trade shows
  1. 92% of attendees visit a trade show to learn about new and exciting products and services. (Source: Spingo)

  2. 46% of trade show attendees are in executive or upper management roles. (Source: Lincoln West)

  3. Over 50% of the people at a trade show are there for the first time. (Source: Spingo)

  4. 56% of visitors will travel over 400 miles just to attend a trade show. (Source: Excalibur Exhibits)

  5. 45% of trade show visitors only attend one exhibition every year. (Source: Spingo)

  6. 64% of attendees are not current customers of the businesses on display at a trade show. (Source: Display Wizard)

  7. Attendees spend an average of 8.3 hours visiting all the booths and displays at a trade show. (Source: Trade Show News Network)

  8. 52% of attendees are more likely to enter an exhibit if they’re offering some kind of giveaway or freebie. (Source:  Princeton Marketing)
what people do after trade shows
  1. 82% of trade show attendees have buying authority. (Source: Excalibur Exhibits)

  2. 74% of attendees believe engaging with the exhibitors makes them more likely to actually buy the products/services on display. (Source: Hill & Partners)

  3. 79% of attendees believe going to a trade show helps them decide what to buy. (Source: Graphicolor Exhibits)

  4. 49% of trade show attendees plan to buy at least one of the products or services on display. (Source: Excalibur Exhibits)

  5. 77% of executive attendees find at least one new supplier at a trade show. (Source: Sage World)

  6. 74% of consumers are more likely to buy a product later after seeing it at a trade show. (Source: Highway 85 Creative)

  7. Trade show attendees will tell more than 6 people about their experience at the event. (Source: Graphicolor Exhibits)

  8. 38% of attendees will visit a company’s website after visiting their booth at a trade show (Source: Event Marketer)

  9. 30% of attendees will wear or use the swag item they received at a trade show (Source: Event Marketer)

  10. 34% of attendees in the United States are “very satisfied” with their experience. (Source: Hill & Partners)
why businesses display at trade shows
  1. 28% of exhibitors start planning their trade show marketing 1 to 2 months before the show. (Source: Display Wizard)

  2. 61% of businesses use social media to promote their attendance at an upcoming trade show. (Source: Brandon Gaille)

  3. 42% of exhibitors believe email marketing before the show is a good way to bring attention to their displays. (Source: Bizzabo Blog)

  4. 27% of B2C companies use press releases to promote their trade show appearances. (Source: HubSpot)

  5. 88% of businesses participate in a trade show to raise awareness of their brand. (Source: Spingo)

  6. 83% of businesses say their top reason for attending a trade show is to increase their sales. (Source: Certain)

  7. 72% of exhibitors are at the trade show to get new leads. (Source: Spingo)

  8. 54% of businesses attend a trade show simply because their competition is there. (Source: Sage World)

  9. Only 3% of small businesses in the United States rely on trade shows to grow their business. (Source: Statista)

  10. U.S. businesses plan to attend an average of 7.8 international trade shows every year. (Source: Statista)

  11. An estimated 13,000 trade shows take place every year in the United States. (Source:  Nimlok)

  12. Over half of the largest trade shows take place in Las Vegas, Chicago, and Orlando. (Source: Trade Show News Network)

  13. 53% of exhibitors believe they have more success at smaller, regional shows than they do at larger, national shows. (Source: Design Shop)

  14. 78% of exhibitors believe social media is a powerful channel for people to experience the activities at a trade show. (Source: Hill & Partners)

  15. 34% of exhibitors believe high-quality swag and giveaways drive more traffic to their booths or displays. (Source: Midas Promotions)

  16. It’s important that the right personalities are in charge of a display. That’s why 59% of exhibitors say personable sales reps are the best booth staffers. (Source: Design Shop)

  17. 85% of an exhibitor’s success at a trade show is dependent on the performance of the staff they bring. (Source: Highway 85 Creative)

  18. 57% of businesses believe their trade show staff gained new skills from the event. (Source: Display Wizard)

  19. 75% of exhibitors predict a positive future for trade shows. (Source: Display Wizard)
how much does it cost to attend a trade show
  1. The average company allocates about 31.6% of their marketing budget to attending trade shows. (Source: VSA Prospecting)

  2. 14% of a trade show budget goes toward travel and accommodations for employees. (Source: Jobs in Marketing)

  3. Many exhibitors will spend anywhere between $600 and $1,500 on their trade show display. (Source: Display Wizard)

  4. 34% of exhibitors believe promotional giveaways are the most effective method for attracting visitors to their booth or display. (Source: Display Wizard)

  5. 39% of U.S. businesses plan to increase their trade show budget next year. (Source: Statista)

  6. A solid 84% of exhibitors will upgrade to a larger exhibit space if there is a substantial amount of “high quality attendees.” (Source: Trade Show News Network)

  7. The cost of meeting a trade show prospect is $142, while meeting with a prospect at their office is $259. This means an exhibitor will save $117 meeting at a trade show (Source: Spingo)
trade show return on investment
  1. Sadly, only 6% of exhibitors believe they convert their leads well at a trade show. (Source: Integrate)

  2. 40% of exhibitors follow up with their leads three to five days after the show. (Source: Jobs in Marketing)

  3. 81% of exhibitors use email to follow-up with leads from a trade show. (Source: Display Wizard)

  4. It takes about 3.5 sales calls to close a lead from an exhibition. (Source: Display Wizard)

  5. Converting a trade show lead costs 38% less than relying on a sales call alone. (Source: Convention Data Services)

  6. 5 to 10% of leads will convert for the marketers who put in the effort and follow-up after the trade show. (Source: Integrate)

  7. 14% of Fortune 500 companies reported that their trade show exhibition generated a 5:1 ROI, which means they made about $5 for every $1 spent. (Source: Statista)

  8. 52% of business leaders believe trade shows and events drive more ROI than any other marketing channel. (Source: Lead Liaison)

Final Thoughts

Trade shows, exhibitions, and events bring in about $13.2 billion every year, and it’s an industry that continues to grow. If you’re an exhibitor, you want to come with a plan so you can really make an impression and wow prospective clients. It also doesn’t hurt to have promotional giveaway items to hand out to everyone who comes to visit your display.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll be another success story to add to the numbers!


Guttman, A. (2018, May 30). U.S. and Global Trade Show Marketing – Statistics & Facts. Retrieved from,

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