Bright Spots Shine Through in April’s Trade Show Dashboard

JAMIE BARTOSCH, SENIOR NEWS EDITOR
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Overall, the Trade Show Executive Dashboard of Monthly Trade Show Metrics showed a 1 percent dip in exhibitors and 0.9 percent decline in attendance in April 2018. Exhibit space eeked up 0.8 percent.

By comparison, April 2017 tallied a 0.7 percent increase in exhibitors, a 2.9 percent increase in attendance, and a 2.6 percent growth in exhibit space.

One ray of sunshine was the Sea-Air-Space Exposition, one of eight shows that showed growth in all three metrics. The show’s double-digit increases included a staggering 40.6 percent increase in attendance, helped by its largest ever outdoor display of military helicopters and boats.

Another bright spot was MODEX, which expanded this year’s show to two show floors, making it more of a complete supply chain event and a one-stop source for solutions. It helped increase attendance by 24 percent.

So did the major investment made by MODEX sponsor MHI in the educational and network offerings at the show – things like high-end keynotes, Industry Night with comedian Jim Gaffigan, and the MODEX Backyard which featured local food trucks, video interviews with exhibitors and attendees, interactive games and giveaways.

A few other noteworthy points about April’s trade shows metrics:

  • A smaller National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show this year still ranked as the month’s largest with 1,045,000 nsf of exhibit space. The show’s futuristic vibe included a Star Wars themed main stage session, produced by George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic team.
  • WCX18 – SAE World Congress Experience saw space and exhibitors increase by roughly 20 percent each. However, there was a 9 percent attendance drop, attributed to SAE tightening the parameters on free admission for speakers and paper authors.
  • Reed’s ISC West, a Gold 100 show, and PACK EXPO East (the off-year alternative to PMMI’s biennial flagship PACK EXPO), both performed well overall.

Looking ahead, July’s calendar doesn’t contain any mega-shows, but some interesting new arrangements. Cosmoprof North America will debut its new partnership with London incubator firm Founders Factory. An expanded IFT18 will be held in Chicago. Also, the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market will take place just two months after it’s organizer, AmericasMart, joined the International Market Centers portfolio as part of a major merger deal.