What is the future for trade shows?

Trade shows are back! And for many of us this marks a welcome return to at least some form of normality. COVID-19 has meant a long hiatus for trade shows. Amidst all the cancellations, some have put together online virtual exhibitions. But let’s face it, there’s nothing like the real thing for making new connections and showcasing what our businesses can offer each other.

Exhibitions, conferences and trade shows – all of these have an important impact on business growth and sales. Not to mention on innovation across all sectors. They are in essence, a one-stop-shop for businesses to showcase products, services, people and establish new industry connections. They can also give high ROI, with many businesses apportioning large chunks of their marketing budgets to trade shows for this reason.

And there’s no doubt that the lack of shows over the last year has had a huge impact on businesses. The lost opportunities have been a major blow. During 2020, over 80% of manufacturers reported a fall in sales and orders. And even now, only 25% of manufacturers are currently operating at their full pre-COVID levels.

events show ppma

Busy aisles at PPMA Show 2018 (supplied by PPMA Group of Associations).

The demand for in-person exhibitions is on the rise


Now as it seems the world is slowly recovering from COVID-19, there’s a growing appetite for a return to in-person events. According to a US survey, 93% of respondents within manufacturing and processing will likely return to in-person events this year.

In the UK, indoor events for up to 1,000 people, or 50% capacity have been allowed since 17 May. This is being met with overwhelming enthusiasm. Research for an event due to take place in autumn for instance, shows that 88% of respondents would likely attend. So, it’s clear that around the world, there’s a high level of bottled-up anticipation to get some face time with each other and establish new business connections.

Trade events are especially important for manufacturing, packaging and processing businesses. These sectors are constantly developing new innovations to meet and exceed changing supply chain demands, and heavily rely on opportunities to showcase these innovations to the world, and educate potential customers on the latest technology. So the return to in person shows can’t come soon enough for many


Key trade shows to watch out for this year


At Allott and Associates we’re big fans of trade shows and exhibitions and we can’t wait to see you there again. Here’s a round-up of some of the shows that are back this year:


What: IntraLogistex

When: 1-2 July

Where: Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry

This one is big on the logistics calendar and is attended by industry-leading exhibitors covering the full range of logistics activities including warehousing, automation, packaging and logistic software. Here you’ll find more than 150 exhibitors, 1,400 visitors, 20 conference sessions on innovation and live demonstrations. And a big driver this year is about how to stay ahead of the competition.


What: Foodex

When: 5-7 July

Where: NEC, Birmingham

This is one of the main events for the processing, packaging and logistics sectors. Here you can find out what’s happening in the food and drink industry, discover new product launches and hear from an expert panel.


What: PPMA Show 2021

When: 28-30 September

Where: NEC, Birmingham

The PPMA Show is the UK’s largest show dedicated to processing and packaging machinery. It’s a must for businesses within this industry, showcasing the latest in machinery, robotics, materials, containers and packaging design. It covers food, beverage, pharmaceuticals, household products and toiletries, building materials and supplies, pet care, micro-brewery and distilleries, FMCG, contract packers and more.


Shows will be even more competitive this year


After the negative effects COVID-19 has had on so many businesses over the last year, the heat is on. Markets are even more competitive. So, it’s essential to look your absolute best at this year’s exhibitions and really stand out from the crowd.

To make the most of this year’s opportunities, if you’re attending and exhibiting at a show make sure you’re prepared. Have you thought about pre-show marketing, stand design, visual displays, media packs and any practical support needed on the day?

Do you have the resources to spread the message about what you’ll be exhibiting, and get people queueing up to visit you while you’re there?

Allott and Associates can help. We have over 120 years’ combined experience in B2B trade show and exhibition marketing and can provide full support in the planning and delivery of your visit. Get in touch on +44 (0)1423 867264 or email info@allottandassociates.co.uk and let us help you gain the competitive edge at this years’ trade shows.


What does the future hold?


Although there’s nothing like making business connections in-person, the positive response to virtual events is encouraging. Online events were initially created as a temporary alternative. But a survey on virtual shows reports that 62% of participants were more satisfied with the experience than in-person events.

So, in some areas people are considering running online shows alongside in-person events as a longer-term option going forward.

The future of trade shows looks exciting to say the least!