Economic Outlook

As we step into 2024, we do so with a positive outlook for the economics of the trade show industry. It is no secret that our industry started this decade facing many challenges. A turnaround became evident in the analysis of 2022 data.  In 2022, the trade show industry contributed $138 billion in business sales and $78 billion in GDP, as well as supporting 2.2 million jobs.

A stellar 2023 marked a return to a growth mode. We are awaiting the final economic numbers for 2023, but from our experience at Captivate Exhibits, we can confidently say the industry has fully recovered from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue its growth trajectory in 2024. Through discussions with our clients and vendors in the industry, we feel comfortable saying that face-to-face marketing is back. Last year was a banner year and outlook remains strong. As our industry continues its incredible rebound, new priorities and trends have emerged and will become prevalent in 2024.

Trade Show Trends in 2024

Trade Show 2024 OutlookHere is a list of current industry trends, compiled by the Trade Show News Network, that will shape the trade show industry in 2024:

  • A greater focus on the changing needs and expectations of the customers, such as data, diversity, sustainability, and year-round engagement.
  • A wider adoption and integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies to enhance the trade show experience and outcomes, such as personalization, automation, analytics, and gamification.
  • A stronger collaboration with more innovation among the trade show organizers, exhibitors, and attendees, as well as other stakeholders, such as governments, associations, and media.
  • A more flexible and varied approach to the trade show format and delivery, such as small, nimble events, virtual hybrid shows and pop-up events that cater to different preferences and situations.
  • An increase in advocacy efforts that will focus on industry issues, talent and labor concerns, and regulatory affairs.

More Good News for the Trade Show Industry

Responses from event planners regarding this year show a reason for optimism in the strength of trade show marketing. 40% of event planners say attendance has increased this past year, with another 29% staying the same. 70% see in-person attendance at events to increase this year. There’s also positive signs in the data regarding event budgets. 64% say their budget will increase and 26% say theirs will stay the same. That’s good news.

The trade show industry is a vital part of the global economy, as it provides a platform for business, networking, learning, and innovation. Despite the challenges and uncertainties, the industry is resilient and adaptable, and we feel it will continue to evolve and thrive in 2024 and beyond.

Are you ready to join in on the action? Get in touch and we’ll get you started on your next trade show activation.

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