This Just In

TSE Announces Fastest 50 Class of 2014


Oceanside, CA – A total of 91 dynamic trade shows earned a ranking on the just-released Trade Show Executive (TSE) Fastest 50 list after growing by leaps and bounds last year. The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Emerald Expositions produced the two exhibitions in 2014 that topped the list of the fastest-growing shows in the U.S., growing more than 50% from 2013 to 2014.

The ICSC New York National Deal Making Conference in December had the highest percentage growth rates in both exhibit space and number of exhibitors last year. Emerald’s venerable KBIS – Kitchen and Bath Industry Show surged to the top of the attendance category.

These shows and 89 other growth leaders will be honored by Trade Show Executive; Title Sponsor Choose Chicago; Platinum/Registration Sponsor CompuSystems, Inc.; and some 30 other sponsors in a three-day celebration May 19-21 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

“On behalf of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Choose Chicago and the city’s entire visitor industry, we look forward to welcoming back the Fastest 50 Awards & Summit,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Choose Chicago.  “It is an honor to host the country’s leading trade show organizers and to have the opportunity to share how Chicago’s meetings and convention industry has and continues to transform.”

Each year, TSE honors the 50 fastest-growing shows in three categories: net square feet (nsf) of paid exhibit space, number of exhibiting companies and total attendance. Some shows were the fastest-growing in multiple categories, resulting in 91 unique shows receiving the honors. The full list of honorees appears at, with shows listed by category in alphabetical order.

“The Fastest 50 Awards & Summit is not only a tribute to the sizzling numbers these show organizers produced but also spotlights their ingenuity and skill in thriving during unprecedented growth spurts,” said Darlene Gudea, TSE president. The three-day event will include a fast-paced summit with case studies, power panels and provocative ideas for continued growth.  There will be numerous opportunities for show organizers to network with other high achievers in informal settings as well as at the Fastest 50 awards dinner.

Gudea pointed out that the event is open not only to the “Class of 2014” honorees but also to past Fastest 50 award recipients as well as show organizers looking to partner, expand or share ideas with the growth leaders. “The Fastest 50 is a gathering of mavericks with big ideas — and the people who are the talk of the trade show industry,” she said.

The Fastest 50 eclipsed all other shows in 2014 by growing dramatically more in nsf of exhibit space, exhibitors and/or attendance.  While the benchmark growth for the average trade show in 2014 was 2.6% in nsf, 2.0% in exhibitors and 1.3% in attendance (see the TSE Dashboard, February 2015), the Fastest 50 Class of 2014 beat that by a huge margin, growing 15.0% in nsf, 15.1% in exhibitors and 17.4% in attendance. This means the growth rates of the Fastest 50 averaged from 6x to 13x the typical show held in the U.S. in 2014.

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 numerous shows have been on the list for multiple years.

The actual rankings of the winning shows, along with their show managers and managing organizations, will be announced on awards night at the Fastest 50 Awards & Summit.  See also for more information on the event. TSE’s Annual Fastest 50 directory, to be released on May 19, 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 nearly 18 million nsf of exhibit space. They ranged in size from 1,206,970 nsf for PACK EXPO International to the 18,850 nsf at Government Fleet Expo (GFX) produced by Bobit Business Media.

The 91 shows drew a combined 61,000+ exhibiting companies and more than 1.5 million attendees. On a per-show average, the typical Fastest 50 event covered nearly 200,000 nsf with 676 exhibiting companies and crowds exceeding 16,000 attendees.

“The Fastest 50 honorees spanned every size category, and even the large shows had a respectable showing,” said Carri Jensen, TSE’s manager of directories, who together with Carol Andrews, editor-at-large, gathered and verified the statistics and compiled the rankings and directory. Jensen noted that shows at 350,000 nsf and larger made up 16% of the Fastest 50. Another 24% were in the 125,000 to 349,000 nsf range, just right for a mid-sized convention center. Slightly more than one-fourth of the honorees sold 50,000 to 124,999 nsf. Shows between 15,000 nsf and 49,999 nsf made up one-third of the Fastest 50 roster.

Of the 91 shows, 79 were annual events, three were biennial shows and five were held semi-annually. Four shows were held five times in 2014 by an undoubtedly hard-working management crew.

Like New York National Deal Making and KBIS, some of the Top 50 shows made the rankings in more than one metric category. A total of 27 shows grew by leaps and bounds in two of the three metrics and 16 shows were the growth leaders across the board — in nsf, number of exhibiting companies and attendance. They include (listed here in alphabetical order):

  • ACI-NA Annual Conference & Exhibition (Airports Council International – North America)
  • ACMG Annual Clinical Genetics Meeting (American College of Medical Genetics & Genomics)
  • AIMExpo (American International Motorcycle Expo)
  • The ASSEMBLY Show
  • BDNY (Boutique Design New York)
  • BDwest (Boutique Design West)
  • Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show (National Cattlemen’s Beef Association)
  • ENDO (Endocrine Society’s Annual Meeting & Expo)
  • ICAST (International Convention of Sportfishing Trades)
  • LeadingAge Annual Meeting & EXPO
  • THE NBM B.I.G. SHOW (Indianapolis) (National Business Media)
  • THE NBM SHOW (Arlington) (National Business Media)
  • New York National Deal Making
  • Pri-Med South Annual Conference
  • Retail’s BIG Show

    Both New York National Deal Making and KBIS reaped the benefits of shrewd shifts in venues and scheduling in 2014.

New York National Deal Making moved into the renovated Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in 2014, and rode a combination of more room and a growing economy to reach new heights. The show’s exhibitor roster jumped to 484, a 56.1% increase from 2013. And a larger crowd of exhibitors translated to more exhibit space — a lot more. In fact, the total of 161,492 nsf was 79.4% higher than the previous year.

Emerald also made a timely move, co-locating the KBIS show as part of Design & Construction Week in Las Vegas with the NAHB International Builders’ Show (National Association of Home Builders) and Vision 2014, the International Window Coverings Expo. The result was a jackpot 65.3% jump in attendance, which could prove to be a powerful selling point for KBIS’ marketing team this year.

Earning a place on the TSE Fastest 50 ranking is a result of hard work in all facets of show planning, marketing and execution. The people behind these shows are making things happen, and the Fastest 50 Awards & Summit is the time when they take their well-earned bow to their peers, colleagues and friends.

Register now at, where updates on the educational sessions will also be posted in the coming days.

Reach Darlene Gudea, president, TSE Media Group, at (760) 630-9111 or; Carri Jensen, manager of directories, at  (541) 286-4014 or

TSE Data Center