Trade show budgets decline 17% in 2009

image According to the Trade Show Exhibitors Association in their newly released “2009 Exhibit Marketing Survey”. It’s the result of “interviews of nearly 300 professionals who use exhibits, events or face-to-face marketing to promote and sell their products”.

It looks like a reduction in the number of trade shows attended will be down by 17% year over year.


  • Exhibitors attended an average of 30 trade shows in 2008 and expect to attend 25 in 2009
  • Trade shows will account for one third of an organization’s overall marketing budget in 2009
  • Budgets for exhibiting will decrease from an average $459,100 in 2008 to $381,000 in 2009
  • Corporate private event spending will decrease 30% from 2008 to 2009
  • Spending for medical/healthcare/pharmaceutical industry events will increase 5% in 2009, but spending for technology shows will decrease 46%

This should come as no surprise to most of us. I expected the decline to be more severe.

The fact is that we have a trade show that runs 24 x 7 and it’s called the world wide web. It’s a trade show where potential buyers are looking for solutions to problems and they could be anywhere in the world. You could potentially reach 5,000 people at a physical trade show or 5,000,000 online.

I acknowledge for some of you trade shows are essential, but for others they are more of a tradition that would be difficult to justify on their own merit in today’s economic environment.

If you think about your website as a proxy for a trade show, what would you do differently? Are you doing the work to make sure that buyers can find you? Are you providing information buyers need to make a decision to go to the next step in the buying process?

David Daniels

David Daniels

(0) Comments

Looking for the latest in product and data science? Get our articles, webinars and podcasts.