Trade Fairs and exhibitions and their economic impact on companies and countries

6 June 2016

marketing event. They are organized so that companies in a specific industry can showcase and demonstrate their latest products, service, study activities of rivals and examine recent market trends and opportunities. In contrast to consumer fairs, only some trade fairs are open to the public, while others can only be attended by company representatives (members of the trade, e.g. professionals) and members of the press, therefore trade shows are classified as either “Public” or “Trade Only”.

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A few fairs are hybrids of the two; one example is the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is trade-only for its first three days and open to the general public on its final two days. They are held on a continuing basis in virtually all markets and normally attract companies from around the globe. Trade shows and events have a detailed history of bringing together traders and customers, both B2B and B2C, under a single roof. At the worst point of the economic downturn a high number of businesses chose to withdraw from exhibiting at shows internationally.

As a result of most companies getting out of the perils of the recession the attractiveness of exhibitions is beginning to increase again too. It presents companies with the opportunity to generate brand awareness to potential customers that they might not be able to reach using other promotional methods. Impact on companies

Exhibitions as marketing tools
Trade shows tend to be a celebration of success with successful companies exhibiting and successful companies visiting. Throughout the ages, trade fairs have been recognized as one of the most efficient and powerful tools for effectively doing business.

They are a major portion of the marketing mix in the industrial marketplace. As a face-to-face meeting point, fairs and exhibitions are basically a target opportunity for achieving your trade objectives. They are a cost-effective means to reach your market audience – in one time and in one place. There are not many other promotional methods that have the versatility to potentially appeal to all five senses.

Key advantages of participating in a trade show
Customer contact: Trade shows provide excellent venues for initiating contacts with new customers and developing new trade leads. Equally important they enable you to maintain and renew contacts with valued clients. An exclusive and favourable marketing tool as customer grievances or enquiries can be dealt with in person whilst providing businesses the chance to receive valuable criticism from previous and present customers.

Product and service launch platforms: Live presentations and Demonstrations of your products and services speak for themselves, accelerating the selling process and generating new sales. introduction of new products to a large number of people. Depending on your type of business, product and market testing can be carried out at trade shows and exhibitions to gain industry or general opinion about your offering Marketing communications:

Trade fairs focus media attention on your Company and products. Public relations efforts can be focused to raise the profile of your company image and brands. Exhibitions are open to a large and sometimes diverse range of audiences (usually the general public). This provides you with a perfect platform to promote your product or service to a broader group that may have little or no knowledge of your products and services. Improves corporate image, creates brand awareness

Enhances goodwill, Exposes promising customers, Gains company publicity A high return/expense ratio: Trade shows are known to have a high return/expense ratio. An EEAA (Exhibition Association of Australia) survey showed that an average expenditure of 9% of companies’ marketing budgets in trade far events resulted in a return of 23% of business. Gathers competitor information: offers management the opportunity to walk around the exhibition themselves and inspect what the competition is doing and offer ideas on how they can improve what they are offering.

Enable participants to stay on top of the latest industry trends, obtain competitor insights, as well as get new information of different fields. Being involved in a trade show or exhibition can provide you with opportunities to branch out to business-to-business trading Major exhibitions are global ‘meetings places’ providing a highly cost efficient environment in which very senior management can meet with other senior management to discuss partnerships and joint ventures, to maintain and deepen business relationships and to identify new business opportunities.

Disadvantages and risks of trade shows
Confusing environment found in large shows
Excessive frequency of trade shows

High and rising costs of participation – travelling to the trade shows, displaying Trade shows require at least a day and probably more of your time. There will probably be quite a bit of competition at all shows. Choosing the wrong trade show to exhibit your business’s products or services can result in displaying to the wrong audience. Poor promotion can mean the costs of attending the trade show outweigh any revenue you gain. Impact on countries

Trade and consumer shows enhance a city’s position in the marketplace Brings multiple economic benefits and job opportunities to local communities and cities. Trade shows not only directly generate business, jobs and government revenues, but also indirectly bring other multiple values both locally and nationally such as education and entertainment Connects individuals with feature product or service launches Problem-solving, education and networking opportunities

Exhibitions make a significant contribution to many business sectors around the world. The more global a business sector the more important the role of trade shows in introducing vendors to buyers and ensuring that industry players maintain contact with industry developments Direct Benefits

Direct revenue sources from trade and consumer shows include administration costs, hall or booth rental, employment spending, shipping costs, as well as spending on hotels and lodging, local attractions, entertainment, and restaurants. In order to set a trade or consumer show, a show producer or organizer has to conceptualize and develop the show, advertise and promote the show as well as to sell the show.

They have to move in, set up, execute the show, move out, and do follow up. Behind the show, general contractors work with decorating, pope and drape set up, booth set up, carpet rental, furniture rental, signage and graphics, on-site coordination of the show, advance planning for the show, cleaning, as well as drayage and material handling. In addition, specialty contractors who work with these shows include florists, catering, photography, transportation, telephone/internet/fax, booth personnel, AV rentals, security, electrical, plumbing/air/water, exhibit design and construction and publicity.

These services directly create a great amount of revenues for local businesses and tax revenues. Trade and consumer shows also provide opportunities for tourism operators to promote their businesses directly to the tourism industry and purchasing consumer. Through trade and consumer shows, a city has a strong presence among brand retailers, tourist boards, business operators, and resort exhibitors who come to the city to interact directly with local citizens as well as tourists.

Indirect Benefits
Enhancing local brand recognition, increasing number of visitors, educate people, increase investment from people worldwide, promote a city, and other potential benefits.

The Future of Trade Shows
For thousands of years, men and women have gathered together in marketplaces to see, touch, smell and taste products, to shop, commune with their peers, catch up on the latest news/gossip, network, transact business and otherwise enjoy being together. While the marketplaces and products have varied over time and place, human beings still desire the opportunity to experience the marketplace firsthand – all of this, in spite of the rise of online commerce, globalization, the Internet, mobile, telepresence and social networking technologies.

Many predicted the demise of trade shows in the late 90’s as the era exploded. However, as we’ve clearly seen, trade shows as modern day face-to-face marketplaces have not fallen prey to the Internet; rather, I believe, they are more valued than ever. We are analog human beings in a digitized world. We crave physical stimuli and social interaction. Why do the masses still flock to the shopping malls every holiday when they can shop online from the comfort of their homes?


Trade shows have both pros and cons but I personally look into its advantages as it offers an opportunity to showcase its products in one location, and also it can create awareness in new prospects, reinforce existing customer relationships, provide product demonstrations for evaluation, and allow sales of products on the spot.

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