Companies are likely to participate in trade shows either as exhibitors or visitors. The number of exhibitors varies; during a survey, about 28 percent of respondents stated the largest trade shows in the U.S. had fewer than 50 exhibitors at the event, while 26 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 69 percent of them were confident that their trade show program is going to achieved better results in 2017 than it did in 2016, and about 18 percent of them stated being extremely confident. This confidence in trade show results is also shown on companies’ trade show budgets. About 48 percent of respondents reported a plan to maintain the budget from 2016 to 2017, and 29 percent reported a plan to increase it. About half of the exhibitors in the U.S. surveyed measure the ROI of their exhibit by comparing sales revenue or potential sales revenue to the cost of exhibiting in a trade show.
Sales potential of trade shows are 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 slightly 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 the better understanding of the product gained during the event was the most influential factor.