Industry Insights & Trends

How Many Trade Show Events Happen in the United States and United Kingdom Every Year?

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Industry Events/Conferences/Trade Shows: US

Some 13,000 trade show events happen in the United States every year. There are about 1424.6 participants (calculated) per trade show. United States business organizations conduct an average of about 55 million video conferences (webinars) every week.

Industry Events, Conferences, and Trade Shows

  • About 13,000 trade show events take place in the United States every year.
  • About 11 million meetings occur in the United States on average every day. The above statistic implies that about 55 million meeting events happen a week, and 220 million meeting events occur a month across various sectors of the United States. Every year, over 1 billion meeting events take place in the United States.
  • The United States business sector accounts for 11 million video conference meetings every day. This figure accounts for (11 million * 365 days) 4.015 billion video conferences annually.
  • United States business organizations implement an average of about 55 million video conferences every week.

Number of attendees

  • There is limited information on the number of attendees for industry events, conferences, and trade shows. This challenge on data availability may be because identifying or understanding the average trade show attendee is “easier said than done.”
  • Trade show attendees and exhibitors come from organizations of varying sizes. 61% of companies that exhibit services or products at trade shows have up to 99 employees.
  • 18% of companies exhibiting something at trade shows employ between 100 and 499 people. Concerning attendee companies, 47% of trade show attendee companies have up to 99 employees, while 11% employ between 100 to 499 employees. However, the number of employees who attend trade shows or other industry events is not made public.

Average Number of Attendees per Event

  • The United States workforce is increasingly collaborating through web conferencing or video conferencing following the impact of COVID-19. On average, each webinar has 148 attendees.
  • Between 2009 and 2012, the number of trade show participants in the United States grew from 13.48 million to 14.71 million. This data represents a CAGR of 2.93 % using a CAGR calculator.
  • Assuming this growth is consistent to 2020 (11 years from 2009), we have a projected number of 18.52 million prospective trade show participants in the United States by 2020 (using a reverse CAGR calculator).
  • Since there are 13,000 trade show events in the United States every year, 18.52 million prospective trade show participants imply an average of 18.52 million participants/13,000 shows = 1424.6 participants per trade show.

Average Cost of Admission to Industry Events

  • As of 2019 (April), the average cost per attendee (participant) in conferences or trade shows was $657. The average cost of attending an internal or external product launch was $688. The cost (per attendee) of admission to other industry events as of 2019 were as follows: incentive/special events ($706), client/customer advisory board event ($620), and internal team meeting/training ($570)
  • The market size for trade shows in the United States was worth $15 billion in 2018. The market size will grow to $16.4 billion in 2020.
  • About $24 billion gets spent yearly by United States exhibitors to organize trade show displays. Since 13,000 trade show events happen in the United States every year, exhibitors spend ($24 billion/13,000) = $1.846 million per trade show event. The research brief considers trade shows as “exhibition event[s]” used to display goods or services.

Industry Events/Conferences/Trade Shows: UK

In 2019, the total number of industry events, conferences and trade shows held were approximately 1.40 million. Conferences and meetings were more frequently held in comparison to exhibitions such as trade shows. Below is an overview of the information.

General

  • According to a survey from American Express, in 2019, 23% of all meetings held in the UK were internal team meetings or training, followed by 22% for conferences or trade shows, 16% senior leadership or board meetings, 15% client/customer advisory board, 14% incentive/special event, and 10% product launch meetings.

Conferences and Meetings

  • Meetings here are defined as “out-of-office and involve a minimum of 10 people” (this includes sales meetings, training, board meetings, [annual general meetings] AGMs). Conferences are defined as an event with “a formal program with speakers.”
  • In 2019, there were approximately 1.40 million conferences and meetings held in the UK, which amounted to approximately 405 conferences and meetings per venue.
  • In 2018, there were approximately 1.48 million conferences and meetings held in the UK, which is corroborated by Business Visits and Events Partnerships (BVEP). Approximately 95.3 million delegates attended these conferences and meetings and there were 428 conferences or meetings held per venue.
  • In 2017, there were approximately 1.29 million conferences and meetings held in the UK, which is corroborated by BVEP and there were 92.8 million delegates attending these events. There were approximately 373 conferences or meetings held per venue.
  • In 2016, there were 1.45 million conferences and meetings and there were approximately 97.5 million delegates attending these events. There were 419 conferences or meetings held per venue.
  • In 2015, there were 1.34 million conferences and meetings held in the UK and there were approximately 94.1 million delegates attending these events.
  • In 2018, 66% of conferences and meetings had 50 delegates or fewer. The average event size was 72 delegates. Similar figures were visible in 2017. An estimated 6% of events were attended by more than 200 delegates.
  • The average spend on registration fee per delegate is £254, for international delegates, this is £449, for domestic delegates, this is £160.

Exhibitions and Tradeshows

  • Here an exhibition, show, or fair are defined as “an event in which products, services, or information are displayed and disseminated.”
  • According to AMR International, the UK exhibition market is expected to grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3% until 2023. Taking this as a proxy for the growth in exhibitions, this would mean that in 2019 there were approximately 1,110 exhibitions (103% of 1,078) and 9.34 million visitors (103% of 9.07 million).
  • In 2018, there were 1,078 exhibitions held in the UK which attracted 9.07 million visitors. While the number of trade shows was not available, in previous years the number held steady at approximately 425 exhibitions [see below], hence it is possible that the same would apply for 2018.
  • In 2017, there were 1,035 exhibitions of which 41% (or 425) were trade shows. Approximately 8.66 million visitors attended these exhibitions, there was an average of 8,400 visits per exhibition, and there was an average of 4,700 visitors for trade exhibitions.
  • In 2016, there were 948 exhibitions of which 45% (or 427) were trade exhibitions. Approximately 8.6 million visitors attended these exhibitions, there was an average of 9,000 visits per exhibition, and there was an average of 5,000 visitors for trade exhibitions. When a fee was charged for trade exhibitions, the average price was £15.00.
  • In 2015, there were approximately 866 exhibitions of which 49% (or 425) were trade exhibitions. These exhibitions attracted approximately 9.5 million visitors, an average of 10,500 visitors per exhibition of which trade exhibitions had an average of 6,600 visitors. 93% of trade exhibitions were free and when a fee was charged, it was approximately £13.00.

Corporate Outdoor Events

  • Corporate outdoor events are defined as “hosted entertainment at major sporting events, concerts, and other high profile functions, and/or participation in sporting or outdoor pursuits-type activities” and they are hosted with the purpose of gathering people for corporate/business reasons. Examples include outdoor product launches and team-building events.
  • Not much information is available on these events possibly because they are held less frequently than other types of outdoor events which are more leisurely.
  • In 2018, 3.9 million people attended such events and there was a total spend of £690 million on these types of events. The spend per event was £175.16.
GLENN TREVOR
Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at Simple Manifestation with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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