Companies are likely to participate in trade shows either as exhibitors or visitors. The number of exhibitors varies; during a survey, about 35 percent of respondents stated the largest trade shows in the U.S. had fewer than 50 exhibitors at the event, while 30 percent said the largest events had from 100 to 249 exhibitors. A vast majority of exhibitors have a positive attitude towards trade show program results. About 68 percent of them were confident that their trade show program was going to achieve better results in 2018 than it did in 2017, and about 16 percent of them stated being extremely confident. This confidence in trade show results is also evident in companies’ trade show budgets. Approximately 47 percent of respondents reported a plan to carry over the same budget from 2017 to 2018, and 30 percent reported a plan to increase it. About 16 percent of surveyed exhibitors measure the ROI of their events by comparing attendance numbers, with further 14 percent evaluating ROI based on attendee satisfaction.
Sales potential of trade shows is rather high, considering about 82 percent of trade show visitors are directly involved in making purchase decisions, and trade show attendees have stated these events have a considerable impact on their purchase decision. In 2015, just over 50 percent of trade show visitors in the U.S. said they were planning to buy exhibited products or services within 12 months of attending the trade show, a slight increase from the previous years. About 80 percent of visitors decided to purchase the product/service because they sampled, used or saw a demonstration of the product/service and liked it, while 57 percent stated that better understanding of the product gained during the event was the most influential factor.