The trade show market is thriving with 1.6% growth and consumer spending up 3.8% over the past 12 months. With this increase in spending, companies have increased their trade show budget. You might be surprised to hear that just five industry segments make up 65.2% of the total trade show market:
18.2% Consumer Goods/Sporting Goods, Travel and other Consumer Services
18.1% Medical and Healthcare
10.5% Business Services
9.2% Communications and IT
Out of these major market segments, consumer goods narrowly lead the pack in front of medical and healthcare. What makes this segment so sizeable that it beats out the rest?
SelectUSA reports that the United States is the world leader in the consumer products arena. In 2015, the United States consumer goods market was the largest in the world, estimated at $437.8 billion (Bureau of Labor Standards), or about 18.2% of the total market. The companies that make up the consumer goods industry are varied. There is a high number of subsectors within consumer products, such as manufacturers, retailers, sporting goods, apparel companies, and more. Producers of commodities, chemicals and engineer materials manufacturers, when compared to consumer goods, is a less broad segment. "Consumer product” could range from baby food to gym equipment, from cars to gardening services. Noticeably so, this channel contains many players.
Disposable income of American families has been on the rise over the last 5 years, allowing higher spending by consumers, and in turn, increased profit for consumer goods businesses. With the rise in revenues, companies are now having more resources to invest in marketing and trade show events. Annual growth for trade show and conference planning is estimated at 1.6%, drawing in a revenue of $14bn. With an increase in trade shows, products and services will continue to grow. These services would include event logistics, exhibit sales, sponsorships and show services, such as registration and event analytics.
As an industry that thrives on understanding consumer behavior, exhibitors are taking advantage of the great opportunity to learn more about their customer's interests and market trends at these shows. The success of consumer goods and services companies are heavily inluenced by the state of the economy. A tell-tale sign of the state of the economy is represented by the number of sales made by consumer goods companies. In struggling economic times, certain products (like food) will be unaffected, while the sale of other products (like luxury cars) start to decline. When luxury car sales start to drop, you can expect sales from other consumer products to follow suit. Consumers tighten their financial belt when incomes drop, and what are the first things cut from their budgets? Luxury goods and non-essential services. The opposite is also true; a good economy will lead to better sales of these positional goods, which will lead to more spending across the sector. When it comes to trade shows, a decline in exhibit attendance could be an early indicator of a decline in sales.
If you take a look at just the 2016 top ten trade shows in the U.S., you’ll notice that six of them fall in the consumer goods category. These include:
CES, the world’s gathering place for businesses based on consumer technology. CES 2016 was the largest one of their shows to-date, reporting 3,886 exhibitors and 112,298 attendees. This trade show was the largest overall, with over 2.4 million Net Square Feet (NSF).
Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market - July, featuring a range of products related to home furnishings. This trade show organized by AmericasMart Atlanta had about 2,608 exhibitors catering to 88,487 attendees. This Atlanta trade show had a NSF of over 1.3 million. This is only the data of its July show, as this trade show also runs in January.
Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market - January, like it’s summer counterpart, features a range of products related to home furnishing. The winter edition recorded 2,751 exhibitors and 93,882 attendees. This show had a similar NSF to its summer counterpart, reporting a NSF of about 1.26 million.
SEMA, the premier automotive specialty products trade event. The SEMA show provides attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, networking opportunities and more. This show recorded 2,400 exhibitors appealing to 157,962 attendees, with a NSF of 1.18 million.
MAGIC Market Week, which serves the $1 trillion+ global fashion industry. This Las Vegas show features more than 9,000 brands across all categories. With 5,896 exhibitors and over 76,000 attendees, MAGIC Market Week has a NSF of about 1.15 million.
Florida RV Supershow, as the name suggests, promotes the RV lifestyle in the state of Florida. 369 exhibitors showed their products to 1,200 attendees at the last trade show. This show has a NSF of about 1.1 million.
But hold on! Before you start packing your bags, it is important for marketers to know the difference between trade shows and consumer shows. Trade shows are primarily business-to-business (B2B). Attendees at these shows are industry pros and they attend to network with other professionals and learn about new products and trends. These attendees typically have large buyer potential. In general, those attending have invested anywhere between $100 and $1,000 to attend. These shows offer direct interaction with industry colleagues. Consumer shows, on the other hand, are primarily business-to-consumer (B2C). At these shows, attendees are the consumers; they come to shop, learn new things, and have fun. These shows typically experience higher foot traffic due in large part to the volume of attendees. Apart from foot traffic, consumer shows help create/build brand awareness in the marketplace. This helps consumer and industry players; consumer shows display a wide range of products for attendees, while also promoting brand awareness for businesses.
This slice of the market is a major trade show influencer. Currently, the consumer goods sector is strong and appears to not be slowing down anytime soon. Although the United States already has the largest pool of consumer goods market, disposable personal income is expected to grow 3.4%. However, with a new election cycle and uncertain international relations, this figure may change over the course of the year. Also something to take note: a growing population of middle-class consumers in cities located in the Asia Pacific region will influence overseas economies in the not-so-far future. Nonetheless, the American CP industry will remain a heavy influencer of trade show profitability for many years to come.
Scanalytics is among the top 10 fastest growing “Internet of Things” companies, measuring human behavior insights through intelligent floor sensors. The SoleSensor platform translates consumer foot traffic into actionable data through a dashboard interface for real-time and historical viewing of trends in physical spaces. Using the floor sensor technology, brands capture and analyze occupancy, traffic patterns and engagement times to increase conversions and improve ROI.
With over 80 million impressions to date, Scanalytics has deployed SoleSensors across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Southeast Asia. Learn more at: www.scanalyticsinc.com