Promo University

What Are the Best Trade Show Giveaways? Suggestions For Your Industry

Alyssa Mertes

Published: May 18th 2021

Freebies, like water bottles, stress balls, and pens, are part of trade show history. Still, you shouldn't buy swag just for the sake of having swag! It's important to come to the expo with the best giveaways for your industry.

Your promotional items should fit with who you are and what you do. Check out this guide for a ton of great swag suggestions!

What Are the Different Types of Trade Shows?

First things first – what type of trade show is your business attending? You could be going to any of the following:

  • Industry trade shows
  • Consumer trade shows
  • Industry & consumer trade shows

What is an Industry Trade Show?

Trade show

An industry trade show is a B2B exhibition where companies can show off their new products and services. It's not only a chance to see what's going on with the competition, but to also network and forge new business opportunities.

Trade show

What is a Consumer Trade Show?

Trade show

A consumer trade show is a B2C exhibition where companies try to market their products and services to new clients. The idea is to cater to people's interests, and hopefully, get them to shop with you in the future.

The difference between industry and consumer trade shows is key. You're going to have a different target audience at each, which means you'll have to think about which trade show giveaways will be most appealing to the people in attendance.

Trade show

Which Industries Host Trade Shows?

In this day and age, there is a trade show for just about everything. Engineering, law, finance… you can pretty much find one no matter what you do for a living.

Here are the top industries that host trade shows every year:

  • Health & Wellness
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Fashion & Beauty
  • Education
  • Food & Dining
  • Tech
  • Construction
  • Automotive
  • Bridal
  • Home & Garden


These expos are gigantic and draw thousands of people every single year. They're a great way to sample items, learn about new businesses, and overall, create a sense of community. Plus, they're just fun!

Your display at these trade shows will be even better with promo items. Free stuff always draws a crowd, so it's a good idea to order some amazing swag.

What Are the Best Trade Show Giveaways?

You should never go to a trade show empty-handed. The people who visit your display will want to walk away with some kind of marketing products. that they can put in the welcome tote bags.

Find your industry for a list of the best promotional giveaways!

Health & Wellness

Trade show

Health & wellness covers many industries, including nutrition, fitness, physical therapy, and medical services. Going to trade shows will help you meet new prospects and share what makes you special.

Best giveaways for health & wellness trade shows:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Face masks
  • Sunscreen
  • Hot and cold packs
  • Pedometers

Top Show

SupplySide West, the largest gathering of health & nutrition industry professionals.

Arts & Crafts

Arts & Crafts

If you're in the business of DIY projects, knitting, or any other creative work, then arts & crafts trade shows are designed for you. Creative minds come to these expos to see what's new and exciting.

Best giveaways for arts & crafts trade shows:

  • Notebooks
  • Coloring materials
  • Sharpies
  • Ceramic travel mugs
  • Leather padfolios

Top Show

Creativation, the largest and longest arts & crafts expo in North America.

Fashion & Beauty

Fashion Beauty

There are over 2,500 trade shows focused on fashion and beauty, so if you're a startup that created a color-changing nail polish, or a store with new skincare product, be sure to promote at these expos!

Best giveaways for fashion & beauty trade shows:

  • Lip balm
  • Slippers
  • Cosmetic bags
  • Pocket mirrors
  • Stemless wine glasses

Top Show

Education

Education

Teachers, scholars, writers, and others who work in the classroom attend education expos to talk about the latest in academia. The world of learning is always changing, and these trade shows are an easy to keep up with the times.

Best giveaways for education trade shows:

  • Pocket planners
  • Backpacks
  • Rollerball pens
  • Sticky notes
  • BPA-free water bottles

Top Show

Food & Dining

Food and Dining

Attention all culinary wizards – it's time to leave the kitchen and attend a food & dining trade show. You can feature your signature dishes, swap recipes with fellow chefs, and listen to featured presentations from famous restaurateurs.

Best giveaways for food & dining trade shows:

  • Spatulas
  • Pot holders
  • Soup mugs
  • Cutting boards
  • Food storage

Top Show

The National Restaurant Association Show an appetizing event for chefs, bakers, and industry leaders.

Tech

Tech

The world is becoming more digital every day. If you work in the field of electronics, it's important to advertise at tech trade shows. These expos give you a global stage to talk about your innovative products and wow the crowd.

Best giveaways for tech trade shows:

  • Chargers
  • Flash drives
  • Webcam covers
  • Earbuds
  • Laptop sleeves

Top Show

Construction

Drill

Hard work and attention to detail goes into construction, whether it's building a new home or creating another lane in the highway. That same kind of dedication should go into setting up your booth and display at construction conventions.

Best giveaways for construction trade shows:

  • Carpenter pencils
  • Tape measures
  • Multi-tools
  • Flashlights
  • Safety vests

Top Show

The PCBC's annual conference for homebuilding professionals, contractors, and more.

Automotive

automotive

Drive new customers to your business by setting up a display at an automotive trade show. These expos are a chance to market new products, network with others, and see some pretty cool cars in the process.

Best giveaways for automotive trade shows:

  • License plate frames
  • Ice scrapers
  • Keychains
  • Sun shades
  • Bumper stickers

Top Show

The SEMA Show where 93% of exhibitors agree the show is worth the time and cost to attend.

Bridal

bridal

Gown designers, boutiques, bakeries, and other companies attend bridal shows. These expos attract marrying couples, as well as planners looking for inspiration for the Big Day.

Best giveaways for bridal expos:

  • Wedding koozies
  • Sunglasses
  • Mason jars
  • Wine bags
  • Shot glasses

Top Show

Home & Garden

home garden

Home & garden expos are geared toward realty firms, interior designers, landscape companies, and anyone involved in property management. These events are a prime opportunity to build connections and make a “home” for yourself in the industry.

Best giveaways for home & garden trade shows:

  • Candles
  • Blankets
  • Portable speakers
  • Coffee mugs
  • Magnets

Top Show

The REALWORLD an expo for realtors that takes place all across the country.

The industries listed above aren't the only ones that attend trade shows. No matter what line of work you do, there are always plenty of awesome trade show giveaways to choose from!

How to Choose a Trade Show Giveaway

Every business is unique, but there are a few key things to look for when choosing marketing products for your next trade show.

Be sure to do the following:

icon-1

Choose an item that's relevant to what you do

Your giveaways should make sense for your industry, like water bottles for a fitness center or cell phone wallets for a credit union.

icon-2

Make sure your item is unique and memorable

Creativity is key. Print a funny saying on wine glasses, or choose mugs with a pretty pastel color palette. You want the promo items to catch people's eyes.

icon-3

Consider your budget

It would be awesome to hand out free Air Pods, but you're not made of money. Think about how much you have to spend before you shop for swag.

icon-4

Evaluate whether or not a person will actually use the item

There's no point investing in giveaways if your customers aren't going to use them. In fact, 69% of people pick up a branded product if they see themselves using it at home or work.

When your trade show swag checks all these boxes, people are more likely to stop by your booth, grab the freebies, and discuss your products or services with you. A little thought goes a long way!

Why Do You Need Trade Show Giveaways?

Trade show

If you're thinking of not buying promotional giveaways for your trade show, you might want to reevaluate. An insane 85% of people do business with a company after receiving one of their promotional products. That's roughly 8 people out of 10 turning into a customer after taking away your trade show swag. Not too shabby.

Here's the thing, though – you can't just hand out cheap junk and expect people to do business with you. Your swag reflects who you are as a company, and premium items or items with a trendy or funny design printed on them will put you ahead of the curve and stand out at the expo.

Trade show

Stats for Success

Stats 1 icon

52% of trade show attendees are more inclined to enter an exhibit that provides some sort of giveaway.

Stats 2 icon

34% of exhibitors credit awesome giveaways for bringing more people to their booth.

Stats 3 icon

80% of trade show attendees say free samples significantly help define their purchasing decision.

The Bottom Line

The best giveaways are unique, stylish, and useful. You don't want to just buy swag to have it. Be sure you're shopping for promotional items that people won't leave on the floor or in the garbage at the convention center!

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a super cool Copywriter at Quality Logo Products. She's a fan of diving into the history of some of the earliest promos on the planet. If you need her, you'll find her buried in research, in the middle of a phone interview, or singing way off-tune in her office.

References

10 Times. (2018). Trade Shows By Industry. Retrieved October 1, 2018, from https://10times.com/tradeshows/by-industry

Sayler, H. (2018). Let the Facts Do the Talking: 25 Stats About Promotional Products. Retrieved October 1, 2018, from https://www.sageworld.com/blog/index.php/2017/03/09/let-the-facts-do-the-talking-25-stats-about-promotional-products/

Manfredini, (2018). 25 Insane (But True) Facts About Promotional Products. Retrieved October 2, 2018, from https://www.sageworld.com/blog/index.php/2015/04/30/25-insane-but-true-facts-about-promotional-products/

Display Wizard. (2018). 20 Trade Show Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind! Retrieved October 2, 2018, from https://www.displaywizard.co.uk/20-amazing-trade-show-statistics/

ATN Event Staffing. (2017, December 29). 10 Experiential Marketing Statistics You Should Know in 2018. Retrieved October 2, 2018, from https://atneventstaffing.com/experiential-marketing-stats-2018/

Milner, R. (2018, May 7). Do Event Swag Bags Really Work for Businesses? Retrieved October 2, 2018, from https://info.zimmercommunications.com/blog/do-event-swag-bags-really-work-for-businesses

Brackett-Panas, L. (2012, January 31). How Much Brand-Building Power Does Promotional Swag Carry? Retrieved October 2, 2018, from http://princetonmarketing.net/princetonmarketingblog/marketing/how-much-brand%E2%80%93building-power-does-promotional-swag-carry

Biz Fluent. (2017, September 26). Types of Trade Shows. Retrieved from, https://bizfluent.com/how-4897748-start-trade-show-business.html

Entrepreneur. Trade Shows. Retrieved from, https://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/trade-shows