The average exhibitor in the United States will exhibit at 12 shows this year, down from 14 in 2008, according to a new study by Skyline Exhibits, Saint Paul, Minn., and Tradeshow Week.
The white paper, “What’s Working in Exhibiting,” also found that more companies choose to save money by eliminating shows than by opting for smaller booths. About half (47 percent) said they would go to fewer shows and maintain their booth sizes, while only about a third (32 percent) said they would stick with the same number of shows but shrink their booth sizes. Just 21 percent said they would go to fewer shows and reduce their booth sizes.
With regard to trade-show marketing, 45 percent reported a decrease in marketing budgets this year; the average decrease was 25 percent. Only 11 percent expected their trade-show marketing budget to increase. Overall, trade-show budgets will decrease by 9 percent, with the deepest cuts coming in travel and entertainment spending for booth staff.
Asked how they stretched their exhibiting budgets during the past two years, 29 percent said that they “exhibit at only the right shows,” while 12 percent said they cut back on booth staff.
Respondents were split on where to find their target audiences: 39 percent said they have the most success at smaller regional shows, while 37 percent said big national shows. About 12 percent said vertical shows, and 4 percent said their own private events.
When assessing the success of participating at a, most respondents (59 percent) measure leads, while 44 percent track the sales revenue generated from the event. Return on investment, client contacts, and booth traffic were each cited by 40 percent of the respondents as a measurement metric.
On the subject of booth design, companies said they are opting for more open space, less clutter, more entry points, and a greater focus on specific products.
For more information on the study, which polled 173 exhibitors in February 2009, contact Skyline Exhibits.