This Just In

Trade Show Executive Unveils the Fastest 50 Class of 2014


Oceanside, CA – A total of 90 energetic trade shows made it to the Trade Show Executive (TSE) Fastest 50 rankings after growing by leaps and bounds last year.

These elite shows eclipsed all other shows in 2013 by growing dramatically more in net square feet (nsf) of exhibit space, exhibitors and/or attendance during 2013. While the benchmark growth for the average trade show in 2013 was 2.2% in nsf, 2.0% in exhibitors and 0.7% in attendance (see the TSE Dashboard), the Fastest 50 Class of 2014 beat that by a long shot, growing 14.9% in nsf, 15.1% in exhibitors and 22.1% in attendance.

The accomplishments of the Fastest 50 provide a comprehensive snapshot of where the growth in the trade show industry is taking place. Many of the events listed experienced double-digit percentage growth over the previous year in multiple metrics — and some shows have been on the list for multiple years.

The winning shows are listed in alphabetical order, and the actual rankings, show managers and organizations will be announced on awards night at the Fastest 50 Awards & Summit in Chicago May 20-22. And TSE’s Annual Fastest 50 directory, to be released on May 21, will be loaded with facts, figures and analysis of the winners including details on ownership, market sector served, year established, rotation pattern and major milestones — plus a ranking of the service providers that service these shows. The directory is free to TSE subscribers.


Together, the Fastest 50 shows totaled 15,124,691 net square feet of exhibit space. They ranged in size from MAGIC MARKET WEEK’s 1,062,151 nsf down to the 17,421 nsf reported by the American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting.

The 90 shows hosted a combined 57,775 exhibiting companies and 1,398,110 attendees. On a per-show average, the typical Fastest 50 event covered 168,052 nsf with 642 exhibitors and a crowd of 15,535 attendees.

Fastest 50 honorees spanned every size category, and even the large shows had a respectable showing. Shows between 15,000 nsf and 49,999 nsf made up one-third of the Fastest 50 roster. Slightly more than one-fourth of the honorees sold 50,000 to 124,999 nsf. Another 29% were in the 125,000 to 349,000 nsf range, just right for a mid-sized convention center. Shows that topped 350,000 nsf made up 12% of the Fastest 50.

Of the 90 shows, 77 were annual events. Four were biennial shows and eight were held semi-annually. Another was a tri-annual show, meaning it was staged three times in 2013 by an undoubtedly hard-working management crew.


About half of the shows made the Fastest 50 in more than one metric. In fact, 47 such shows were multiple winners, and 13 were named winners  in all three metrics. The “triple crown” winners included familiar names such as ABC Kids ExpoAG CONNECT Expo & Summit and the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show. Other events were based in niche markets, including Questex’s Sensors Expo & Conference and Business Journals, Inc.’s two semi-annual STITCH shows.


The medical and healthcare sector was well represented with 15 conferences and trade shows that made up 16% of the entire Fastest 50. Along with the Epilepsy Society’s annual meeting, the roster includes annual conferences for psychiatrists, pediatricians, dentists and occupational therapists. Also in the mix were PITTCON and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting, which were also on the TSE Gold 100 rankings of the largest U.S. trade shows.

A total of 26 Fastest 50 shows were also on the most-recent Gold 100 list, which ranked the 2012 shows. Associations and not-for-profits organized 42 of the Fastest 50 shows and independent organizers were responsible for 48.


The Fastest 50 rankings were determined from information supplied and certified by senior executives with the association or private show organizer responsible for the event. All trade shows with a minimum of 15,000 nsf held in the U.S. in 2013 were eligible.

The top 50 performers in the categories of exhibit space, exhibitors and attendance were selected based on the percentage of growth from 2012 to 2013.

Non-annual shows were eligible, although their growth was extrapolated as if they were annual events. For example, a biennial show’s growth was determined by taking the percentage of growth from 2011 to 2013 and dividing by two. Growth for a triennial was divided by three.

Temporary exhibit space was not considered, but co-located shows could be combined into a single entry provided both shows were held in the two years under consideration.

TSE salutes all the winners!


TSE Data Center