Oceanside, CA – Trade shows sprang to life in September with some noticeable gains in all three metrics, following a stretch of lackadaisical growth.
The 26 shows in the Trade Show Executive (TSE) Dashboard of Monthly Trade Show Metrics enjoyed growth rates of 3% in exhibit space and 3.5% in attendance while the number of exhibitors grew by half that percentage: 1.5%. It was the 12th straight month of growth in net sf and the 5th consecutive month in which exhibitor count increased. Attendance performance has been spotty at best, declining five times in the past 12 months.
Led by a mushrooming of booths at Gold 100 shows, such as Interbike, Global Gaming Expo (G2E) and PACK EXPO, the exhibitor count for September ticked up 1.5% from the previous year. That growth followed a 2.7% jump tallied in August. “We were thrilled to welcome all of our new exhibitors and our returning exhibitors to G2E 2013,” said Courtney Miller, senior vice president of Reed Exhibitions, about her company’s show. “This year’s floor was nearly 9% larger than last year, and the largest since 2008.”
Excluding outliers, the numbers reported to TSE reflected an adjusted total of 3,114,322 net square feet (nsf), 11,177 exhibitors and an attendance of 268,521.
Of the 26 shows held in September, 10 were 100,000 nsf or larger. Seven were ranked on the TSE Gold 100 rankings of largest U.S. trade shows. In fact, Interbike was included on both the Gold 100 list of the largest 100 shows and the TSE Fastest 50 roster of fastest-growing events.
Interbike, Surf Expo Gain across Board
Interbike has had a lot to cheer about in 2013. Emerald Expositions reported a 1.4% increase in exhibit space to 324,383 nsf. Attendance was virtually unchanged at 25,556, but the exhibitor rolls jumped 12.1% to 908.
Emerald extended an interesting offer to its exhibitors by providing them the opportunity to give their best retail customers an inside look at the newest must-haves on two wheels coming to bike shops everywhere. Interbike by Invitation allowed select customers of their exhibitors to roam the aisles at Mandalay Bay on the final day of the show for a mere $50. The goal was to generate further downstream buzz as the holiday shopping season approached.
The mystique of Interbike from a consumer perspective has been, and still is, very strong,” said Pat Hus, managing director for Interbike. “We believe we’ve found the proper way to include the consumer by showcasing the industry through retailers who attend Interbike.”
“It is not designed to open the flood gates to consumers seeking stickers and swag ( S.W.A.G. or ”stuff we all get”) – but rather as an opportunity for retailers to invite their best consumers with the goal of leaving the show with the invitee feeling closer to both the retailer and the brands they love,” Hus said.
GLM’s Surf Expo was also in the black across the board. The popular Orlando show hosted the highest number of buyers in its 37-year history and saw a 11.5% gain in total attendance.
“Buyer attendance was up 14% compared to last September, and eclipsed our record-breaking January show by 4%,” Show Director Roy Turner said.
The continuing evolution and intermingling of water sports and skateboarding on the retail level continued to play into Surf Expo’s wheelhouse. The result was a 10% increase in new exhibitors and 2.6% increase in the overall exhibitor count. Exhibit space grew 1.9% to 219,000 nsf.
*G2E cashed in on the growth in international manufacturers in the gaming industry. The show hosted 430 exhibitors in Las Vegas, up 6.2% from 2012. Of that number, 125 were first-time exhibitors from overseas, representing 32 nations.
Reed has also expanded its exhibits into nongaming product lines and has now added conference sessions for the F&B side of the casino business. “G2E featured specialized exhibit space, special events, dedicated conference programming, and the latest entertainment acts to address the growing importance of the food, beverage, hospitality and entertainment sectors to the casino industry’s bottom line,” Muller said.
*Gear Expo rolled into Indianapolis this year. The venue, in the heart of the U.S. manufacturing region, paid off with a 12.7% boost in exhibit space to 52,500 nsf and 3,400 attendees, a 4.6% boost.
*ATCE 2013 moved to the heart of the Gulf Coast offshore oil industry and the Society of Petroleum Engineers was rewarded with an 8.4% increase in attendance to 12,028, the biggest crowd since 1999. The exhibit space grew 20.8% to 150,500 nsf. Exhibitor count was up 17.2% to 552.
Leading the Pack
PACK EXPO Las Vegas was the largest of the September Dashboard shows and also one of the most robust. Show managers at PMMI, the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, grew “outside the box” and called 2013 its largest Las Vegas show in history.
“PMMI’s mission is to convene the entire packaging and processing supply chain in one location, and that is exactly what PACK EXPO Las Vegas accomplished,” said Charles Yuska, president & CEO of PMMI.
A customer survey conducted last Fall inspired Yuska and his team to relocate the educational sessions to the exhibit hall, which paid off handsomely in the form of standing-room only crowds at hourly intervals in the main hall. “Attendees said they valued education, but still wanted to maximize their time on the show floor,” Yuska said.
PACK EXPO Las Vegas was one of five Dashboard shows held on The Strip in September. Together, all five of the shows totaled 1,434,344 nsf of exhibit space.
Chicago was second on the leader board with four Dashboard events totaling 603,608 nsf. One of the Windy City shows, however, was the quadrennial PRINT 13 & CPP Expo, which ended up losing more than (25)% of its exhibit space and was not included in the adjusted Dashboard totals.
Orlando also reached the podium thanks to Surf Expo and The Landscape Show with 293,500 nsf.
Next Month in Dashboard
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Convention & Exhibition in Las Vegas highlighted the October U.S. trade show calendar. The NBAA was expecting 25,000 attendees and more than 1 million nsf of indoor exhibits at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
And Orlando hosted the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association and also the American Academy of Pediatrics. Also in October, High Point Market Fall took place in North Carolina and Louisville was the site of the always-expansive GIE + Expo Green Industry and Equipment Expo, the must-attend gathering for the landscaping industry.
TSE’s full Dashboard report runs in the November issue of Trade Show Executive. The digital version will be available online on November 1.