What’s the Future of Trade Shows

Zoom is not the new normal. We will gather again. Exactly when and how we will gather is rooted not only in governmental restrictions but also perceptions of COVID-19, perhaps even politics.

Trade show marketing firm GES recently surveyed about 1,300 trade show attendees to assess their eagerness to return to such environments and the factors they’ll consider.

The survey found that 88 percent of respondents are open to attending trade shows. Sixty-five percent demand some form of mitigation to attend; 23 percent prefer no mitigation tactics.

Five core segments emerged in regard to perceptions of the risks and mitigation requirements. They are:

Will Not Attend. Twelve percent were highly concerned by the health risks of live events and do not believe in mitigation.

Might Attend. Twenty-four percent were concerned about COVID-19 risk but open to attending an event if it provided high value to them.

Moderately Concerned. Another 24 percent had only moderate concerns about COVID-19 and expressed a willingness to follow personal restrictions. They opposed, however, group size limits or time restrictions.

Mildly Concerned. Seventeen percent expressed only mild COVID-19 concerns. While this group expressed faith in personal mitigation procedures, they support structural changes to shows to promote safety.

Not Worried At All: Twenty-three percent had low COVID-19 concerns and would like shows to proceed as they did before the pandemic.

Source: Trade Show News Network