A key tool in benchmarking the trade show industry was recently released. We are sharing some trade show industry insights gleaned from The Material Handling & Labor Rate Survey. This research was prepared by The Exhibitor Advocate, a non-profit organization providing the tradeshow industry with research, advice and the tools to amplify the voice of exhibitors and ensure their success.
The survey is just one of the many tools we use to gauge the industry and to assist in our forecasts for the coming year. We’ve been through a lot the last few years, to say the least. The pandemic caused many shows to cancel or reschedule. Inflation, the labor shortage, new health and safety concerns, and supply chain issues have all impacted the return of shows and events.
The ROI demand is greater than ever, with marketing dollars being watched closely by upper management. The opportunities for better leads and quality engagement are out there but there’s a need to find ways to reduce cost.
Key Data from the Material Handling & Labor Rate Survey
“The data from the 2022 Material Handling & Labor Rate Survey clearly demonstrates that exhibitor costs continue to rise. Increases to installation & dismantle labor, electrical labor and material handling rates are outpacing inflation, some by more than 30%.”
- Overall, 29% increase in display, labor and material handling rates
- I&D average nationwide – $140/hr ST and $205/hr OT, with straight time ranges from $100 to $235
- Labor rates were highest in the Northeast, Chicago and California
- Electrical labor had the greatest increase of 32%, average is $132/hr and $188/hr OT
- Material Handling rates average is $1.88 per pound
Impact on the Trade Show Industry
As the trade show and event industry continues to rebound, exhibitor managers are looking for ways to reduce costs while still engaging in their audience in measurable results.
Exhibitors are lowering their costs by reducing booth space, sending fewer salespeople to the shows and/or reusing their exhibit materials from last year. But that could mean less engagement, less impact and less attendee experience, which could equal lower ROI.
Trade Show Industry Sees Record Attendance
But there are always two sides of the coin. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held in January of this year, reported a higher-than-expected 115,000 people attended the event, with over 3,200 exhibitors. The show rocked by every measure, showing that in-person events are back.
And to add to the evidence that trade shows are rebounding, the turnout at the recent ConExpo-Con/Agg 2023 broke all previous records with 139,000 attendees. The largest construction equipment show in North America was in full force with over 2,400 exhibitors from 36 countries taking up 3 million square feet of space.
Vice President Dana Wuesthoff of The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (organizers of the show), had this to say, “We’re extremely happy and obviously, just looking around, there are just so many people. It’s busy all over the place.
Reason for Optimism in the Trade Show Industry
As reported by CEIR, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, B2B events remain strong and are on track for a full recovery by 2024. This year should continue with a steady comeback of continued growth. People want to get back to attending shows again, exhibit houses are fabricating new exhibits again, and suppliers are busy filling orders. At Captivate Exhibits, we’ve seen this comeback firsthand. We have never been busier supporting multiple clients across the United States at shows large and small.
All this optimism confirms the power of face-to-face meetings, with networking, continuing education and new technology resulting in more leads, more interactions, and more sales.
Be a part of this resurgence of trade shows and live events! We are ready to help you showcase your brand. Get in touch today to start the conversation.