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Top 20 Trade Shows to Attend in 2020

Top Trade Shows of 2020

Posted on 02, January, 2020

Last Modified on 13, February, 2020

Looking for your business's next trade show? We've compiled a list of the top industry events that connect buyers with sellers, and present unbeatable opportunities for professionals to network with like-minded peers.

Before getting into the list, here are a few things to consider:

Deciding to Attend or Exhibit

There are primarily two types of people on the trade show floor: attendees and exhibitors. Attendees are the industry professionals, purchasers and investors who make up the audience of a show, and exhibitors occupy booths which display their company’s products and brand. The cost to exhibit is much greater than attending, so if you are investing in a booth you’ll want to make sure it’s worth your while.

Before deciding whether to exhibit or attend, establish your goals. Attending a trade show is an excellent way to source products for a store, equipment for your business, network with other industry professionals, form partnerships, and educate your team on the latest trends.

To promote your brand, generate on-site revenue and collect leads, you should consider investing in an exhibit. Exhibiting is an excellent opportunity to increase brand awareness and connect with the right people to grow your business. Seeking an investor that can help you bring your product to market? You're likely to connect with just the right people when networking at some of the industry's largest events.

How to Choose a Trade Show

Once you establish your goals, how do you choose which trade show is best for your business? First, find your market. The last thing you would want is to pour resources into designing your dream booth only to discover that your audience isn’t there. Consider the show’s attendees; are they in your industry? Will there be investors? Wholesalers? Retailers? Licensers? What about your competitors; are they going to be there?

You’ll also want to consider costs. If you’re running on a shoestring budget, it pays to find a local or regional event where you can reduce the costs of travel and save on floor space. To make the biggest bang with your brand and place yourself among industry leaders, look for larger expos that generate a ton of press. While these staples can be great for brand awareness, they’re risky in terms of ROI. For many smaller businesses looking for the greatest return on investment, it’s recommended to choose more niche events where you’re likely to find a concentrated presence of your target audience.

Tip: Find out which events your competitors are exhibiting. If they regularly have a presence at a show, it’s a sign that maybe you should be there, too.

When to Register

When should you register for a trade show? It's never too early. Many of the top industry events can be competitive to get into and are announced as much as a full year in advance. You should always try to register as soon as possible, and well before designing your exhibit. A general rule of thumb is to register 6 to 12 months before the event, and give your company at least 3 months to prepare (more if it’s your first time). Still, it’s possible you can pull off a last-minute booth— especially with same day shipping on most non-custom trade show displays.

Also, keep a note of any registration deadlines for attendees and exhibitors. Attendees can sometimes register up to the day of the show, and exhibitors need more time. If you miss the deadline or don’t have enough time to prepare, just consider yourself ahead of schedule for next year. Most conferences and expos run at around the same time each year, and often in the same location.


Largest Trade Show for Consumer Technology

Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

CES is the largest and most influential tech event in the world. Each year in Las Vegas, major players in the tech industry unveil cutting-edge consumer products. Many may think of CES as a show for flashy gadgets and drones, but attendees will also find a variety of products on display from sports tech to manufacturing solutions that can help tech entrepreneurs bring their ideas to market. While CES is a show for consumer electronics, the show is a trade-only event and only industry professionals and media are permitted to attend.

      Date: January 7-10, 2020
      Location: Las Vegas, NV
      Size: 175,000+ attendees
      Cost to Exhibit: $41 to $46 per square foot (Source)*
      Cost to Attend: $300 to $1,700 (Source)*

Top Conference for IT Security Professionals

RSA Conference

Let's talk cybersecurity. This year at the RSA Conference, the theme is "The Human Element". The show's 2020 programs and keynote presentations will explore the evolving relationship between humans and technology. IT professionals have the opportunity to network, and discuss the future of cybersecurity. At the Expo, vendors present solutions for organizational security and often allow guests to participate in hands-on demos.

      Date: February 24-28, 2020
      Location: San Francisco, CA
      Size: 50,000+ attendees
      Cost to Exhibit: $140 per square foot (Source)*
      Cost to Attend: $395 to $2,595 (Source)*

Flagship Event for SaaS Businesses

SaaStock North America

Scaling a software as a service (SaaS) business in 2020 is a challenge. A ton of competition has developed in this space since the dot com era, and it can be difficult to breakthrough the noise. SaaStock is an event where startup founders and large B2B providers can grow sales, match with investors, participate in workshops and gain valuable industry insights. Last year's attendees included reputable brands such as Salesforce, Survey Monkey, Asana, ProfitWell and SEMrush.

      Date: June 22-24, 2020
      Location: San Francisco, CA
      Size: 1000+ attendees
      Cost to Exhibit: $1,500 to $3,000 (Source)*
      Cost to Attend: $299 to $399 (Source)*

Largest Trade Event in the Video Game Industry

E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo

There's a lot of buzz surrounding E3 every year as consumers anticipate new video game releases and developers tease exciting new gaming tech. It's one of the few big direct-to-consumer shows, with gamers making up the majority of the audience along with members of the press.

      Date: June 9-11, 2020
      Location: Los Angeles, CA
      Size: 45,000+ attendees
      Cost to Exhibit: Starting at $10,000 (Source)*
      Cost to Attend: $249 (Source)*

#1 Trade Show for Photographers

Imaging USA 2020
Source: Imaging USA

Imaging USA

Dating back to 1880, Imaging USA is the longest-running exposition for professional photographers. The 6-day event begins with 3 days of networking and education sessions focused on business skills, photography trends and technological proficiency. The latter 3 days are spent at the Expo, where vendors show off their best gear from prosumer DSLR cameras to lighting kits and top of the line film equipment.

      Date: January 16-21, 2020
      Location: Nashville, TN
      Size: 10,000+ attendees
      Cost to Exhibit: $3,350 (Source)*
      Cost to Attend: $35 to $300 (Source)*

Largest Trade Show for AV Technology

InfoComm Show

InfoComm attracts thousands of communications professionals looking to advance their career and discover AV equipment for tomorrow's media. Exhibitors at the marketplace include manufacturers of innovative digital signage solutions, DJ equipment, interactive displays and much more. The audience at the Expo consists of technology managers and high-level executives from Fortune 500 companies, universities, and design agencies, shopping for multi-million dollar installations.

      Date: June 17-19, 2020
      Location: Las Vegas, NV
      Size: 44,000+ attendees
      Cost to Exhibit: Starting at $42.50 per square foot (Source)*
      Cost to Attend: $299 (Source)*

Premier Marketplace for Fashion & Apparel

MAGIC

MAGIC connects the global fashion industry with their annual marketplace in Las Vegas. Through encounters on the trade show floor and matchmaking programs, a variety of brands showcase their apparel and accessories. These exhibitors aren't vying for the attention of the end consumer, but instead for retailers and buyers who attend annually to source new trendy attire to fill racks in their stores. Beyond booth encounters in the massive Mandalay Bay Convention Center, MAGIC offers matchmaking programs to facilitate these connections between buyers and brands.

      Date: February 5-7, 2020
      Location: Las Vegas, NV
      Size: 60,000+ attendees
      Cost to Exhibit: Varies (Source)*
      Cost to Attend: FREE for verified retailers, $500 to $2,500 for non-retailers Source)*

Most Popular Trade Show for Retailers

NRF 2020: Retail's Big Show

In a regularly sold out event, Retail's Big Show brings together the nation's store owners and big box retailers to learn from the visionaries that are shaking up the industry and discuss transformative solutions for brick-and-mortar stores. Attendees shop hundreds of exhibit booths containing everything retailers need to run a business — from packaging and merchandising solutions to accounting and security software.

      Date: January 11-14, 2020
      Location: New York, NY
      Size: 38,000+ attendees
      Cost to Exhibit: Starting at $8,500 (Source)*
      Cost to Attend: Varies (Source)*

Leading Event for Restaurants and Hospitality

Natural Restaurant Association Show

Hungry for growth? The National Restaurant Association brings the food service industry together at their annual show. Restaurant owners meet suppliers of kitchen equipment and get a taste of what's new and a refresher on best practices for running today's restaurants. The event celebrated 100 years in 2019, and continues to be the largest in the industry.

      Date: May 16-19, 2020
      Location: Chicago, IL
      Size: 45,000+ attendees
      Cost to Exhibit: Varies (Source)*
      Cost to Attend: $95 to $475 (Source)*

Leading Trade Show for Food

The Summer Fancy Food Show

Open only to members of the Specialty Food Association, The Summer Fancy Food Show gives culinary producers an opportunity to exhibit unique cuisines and packaged non-perishables to a venue full of hungry distributors and industry peers. There's always something new at the Fancy Food Show, reflecting changes in American diets and our constant cravings for novelty.

      Date: June 28-30, 2020
      Location: New York, NY
      Size: 30,000+ attendees
      Cost to Exhibit: $37 per square foot (Source)*
      Cost to Attend: $35 to $300 (Source)*

Largest Exhibition for Craft Brewers

BrewExpo America

The craft beer industry has grown rapidly in recent years, with new breweries popping up all across the US. At BrewExpo America, these beverage connoisseurs pour their Most Valuable Pours (MVPs), resulting in bulk quantity purchases from the breweries, pub owners and wholesalers who attend the event.

      Date: April 19-22, 2020
      Location: San Antonio, TX
      Size: 13,000+ attendees
      Cost to Exhibit: Starting at $2,600 (Source)*
      Cost to Attend: $549 to $1,500 (Source)*

Best Trade Show for All-Natural Products

With shows on the West Coast and East Coast, the Natural Products Expo attracts thousands of producers of all-natural foods, beverages, cosmetics and soaps shows. Attendees receive bags full of free samples, and are on the lookout for products to stock the shelves of their specialty stores and grocery aisles. The conference also includes education sessions where guests can learn about agriculture, and discover trends that are shaking up the food and beauty industries.

Expo West

      Date: March 4-7, 2020
      Location: Anaheim, CA
      Size: 86,000+ attendees
      Cost to Exhibit: Varies (Source)*
      Cost to Attend: $45 to $1,095 (Source)*

Expo East

      Date: September 23-26, 2020
      Location: Philadelphia, PA
      Size: 60,000+ attendees
      Cost to Exhibit: Varies (Source)*
      Cost to Attend: FREE for qualified retailers, $995 for guests (Source)*

Biggest Trade Fair for Toys

Toy Fair NY

What do kids play with nowadays? Whatever it is, you can find it at Toy Fair New York where leading toy manufacturers debut new youth entertainment products and display iconic toys to an audience of wholesalers, retailers, distributors and licensors. Unfortunately, children cannot attend as this is a trade-only event.

      Date: February 22-25, 2020
      Location: New York, NY
      Size: 30,000+ attendees
      Cost to Exhibit: Starting at $35 per square foot (Source)*
      Cost to Attend: $199 to $325 (Source)*

Largest Trade Show in the Automotive Industry

AAPEX Show

The AAPEX Show is ahead of the curve when it comes to aftermarket auto parts. Leading part manufacturers exhibit to over 50,000 repair professionals, independent garages, auto retailers and distributors. Attendees marvel at emerging technology like alternative fuel sources, and participate in hands-on trainings and demonstrations at the Expo. The show sold out in 2019, so register as soon as you can!

      Date: November 3-5, 2020
      Location: Las Vegas, NV
      Size: 175,000+ attendees
      Cost to Exhibit: Starting at $26 per square foot (Source)*
      Cost to Attend: $40 to $200 (Source)*

Best Trade Show for Boats

Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

Billed as "The Greatest Boat Show on The Seven Seas," the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show displays a spectacular collection of boats, yachts and nautical gear for boat enthusiasts to enjoy. The popular marine trade show is now celebrating its 60th anniversary by debuting the Superyacht Village. This new addition features massive superyachts measuring over 300 feet, as well as luxury vehicles, helicopters and even personal submarines.

      Date: October 28 - November 1, 2020
      Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
      Size: 100,000+ attendees
      Cost to Exhibit: Varies (Source)*
      Cost to Attend: $34 to $300 (Source)*

Largest Construction Trade Show in the US


CONEXPO

Hosted every 3 years, CONEXPO is where construction professionals and distributors discover new groundbreaking equipment, cutting-edge machinery, and materials from leading manufacturers. Any business that offers solutions for contractors will find their market at this show.

      Date: March 10-14, 2020
      Location: Las Vegas, NV
      Size: 130,000+ attendees
      Cost to Exhibit: $179 per staff member (Source)*
      Cost to Attend: $149 to $839 (Source)*

Biggest Marketplace for Home Furnishings & Decor

High Point Market

If you're an interior designer, you'll feel right at home at High Point Market. Located in North Carolina, this marketplace runs bi-annually, featuring a collection of showrooms decorated with a variety of furnishings and decor. Exhibiting at High Point Market is a little different from other shows. Rather than a single venue, the marketplace is located across many downtown buildings. Most occupants lease the space permanently with fewer vacancies available for temporary exhibits.

      Date: April 25-29, 2020
      Location: High Point, NC
      Size: 75,000+ attendees
      Cost to Exhibit: Varies (Source)*
      Cost to Attend: $30 to $55 (Source)*

Best Healthcare Exhibition in the US

HIMSS Conference 2020

The HIMSS 2020 Global Health Conference and Exhibition brings healthcare professionals together to explore changes in patient care and technology. The conference provides educational opportunities for attendees and features over 1,000 leading health vendors with innovative solutions that are shaping the future of the healthcare industry.

      Date: March 9-13, 2020
      Location: Orlando, FL
      Size: 40,000+ attendees
      Cost to Exhibit: Starting at $38 per square foot (Source)*
      Cost to Attend: $555 to $1,885 (Source)*

Ready to Exhibit?

Displays2go has everything you need to build you dream booth. Find hundreds of booth-ready fixtures from portable counters to branded all-in-one kits. Check out our selection of displays and merchandising solutions to inspire your exhibit.


*Costs to exhibit and attend are subject to change. Costs to exhibit only include booth space rentals. Visit event's website for the most up-to-date information.

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