A trade fair (trade show, trade exhibition, or expo) is an exhibition organized so that companies in a specific industry can showcase and demonstrate their latest products and services, meet with industry partners and customers, study activities of rivals, and examine recent market trends and opportunities. In contrast to consumer fairs, only some trade fairs are open to the public, while others can only be attended by company representatives (members of the trade, e.g. professionals) and members of the press, therefore trade shows are classified as either "public" or "trade only". A few fairs are hybrids of the two; one example is the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is trade only for its first three days and open to the general public on its final two days. They are held on a continuing basis in virtually all markets and normally attract companies from around the globe. For example, in the U.S., there are currently over 10,000 trade shows held every year, and several online directories have been established to help organizers, attendees, and marketers identify appropriate events.
Modern trade fairs follow in the tradition of trade fairs established in late medieval Europe, in the era of merchant capitalism. In this era, produce and craft producers visited towns for trading fairs, to sell and showcase products. From the late eighteenth century, industrial exhibitions in Europe and North America became more common reflecting the technological dynamism of the Industrial Revolution.
In the late 19th century, the concept of annual industry-wide trade shows gained traction, spreading from European manufacturing centers to North America. By the 20th century, specialized companies came into existence simply to manage the trade-show industry, and permanent trade show grounds or convention centers were established as venues that featured a rotating calendar of trade shows.
In the 21st century, with the rapid industrialization of Asia, trade shows and exhibitions are now commonplace throughout the Asian continent, with China dominating the exhibitions industry in Asia, accounting for more than 55 per cent of all space sold in the region in 2011.
Trade fairs play important roles in marketing as well as business networking in market sectors that use them. People will seek to meet people and companies at their own level in the supply chain, as well as potential suppliers and potential buyers.
Generally there will be a central trade show floor with booths where people exhibit their goods or services, and throughout the day there will be seminars for continuing education on matters relevant to the industry, like best practices, trends, and regulation. There will also be some shared meals with keynote speakers, and social events in the evenings. Booths range from simple tables to elaborate constructions.
Trade fairs often involve a considerable investment in time and money by participating companies. The planning includes arranging meetings with other attendees beforehand and resources to follow up on opportunities that are created at the fair. Costs include space rental, booth design and construction of trade show displays, telecommunications, travel, accommodations, and promotional literature and items to give to attendees.
In addition, costs are incurred at the show for services such as electrical, booth cleaning, internet services, and drayage (also known as material handling). This local spending on logistics leads cities to promote trade shows as a means of local economic development, as well as providing opportunities for local businesses to grow, and attract new businesses to come.
|#||Ground||City||Indoor floor area||Outdoor floor area|
|1||Hannover Messe||Hannover||496,000 m2 (5,340,000 sq ft)||58,070 m2 (625,100 sq ft)|
|2||World Market Center Las Vegas||Las Vegas||460,000 m2 (5,000,000 sq ft)|
|3||Messe Frankfurt||Frankfurt||366,600 m2 (3,946,000 sq ft)||96,000 m2 (1,030,000 sq ft)|
|4||Fira de Barcelona||Barcelona||365,000 m2 (3,930,000 sq ft)||50,000 m2 (540,000 sq ft)|
|5||Fiera Milano||Milan||345,000 m2 (3,710,000 sq ft)||60,000 m2 (650,000 sq ft)|
|6||Las Vegas Convention Center||Winchester, Nevada (Las Vegas)||297,000 m2 (3,200,000 sq ft)|
|7||Koelnmesse||Cologne||284,000 m2 (3,060,000 sq ft)||100,000 m2 (1,100,000 sq ft)|
|8||Messe Düsseldorf||Düsseldorf||262,740 m2 (2,828,100 sq ft)||43,000 m2 (460,000 sq ft)|
|9||McCormick Place||Chicago||248,000 m2 (2,670,000 sq ft)|
|10||Paris expo Porte de Versailles||Paris||227,000 m2 (2,440,000 sq ft)|
|11||Feria de Madrid IFEMA||Madrid||200,000 m2 (2,200,000 sq ft)|
|12||Messe München||Munich||180,000 m2 (1,900,000 sq ft)||425,000 m2 (4,570,000 sq ft)|
|13||Messe Berlin||Berlin||160,000 m2 (1,700,000 sq ft)||390,000 m2 (4,200,000 sq ft)|
|14||ICE||BSD City, Indonesia||50,000 m2 (540,000 sq ft)||220,000 m2 (2,400,000 sq ft)|
List of major trade fairs
|AgQuip||Agriculture||August 22–24, 2017||Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia||100,000 approximately in 2005|
|AGRO||Agriculture||June 7–10, 2017||Kiev, Ukraine||121,220 in 2012|
|ANUGA||Food and beverage||October 7–11, 2017||Cologne Trade Fair, Germany||165,000 approximately in 2017|
|Arab Health||Healthcare||January 30, 2017 - February 3, 2017||Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, United Arab Emirates||102 666 in 2017|
|Automechanika||Automotive aftermarket||September 13–17, 2016||Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany||136,000|
|BAUMA||Construction||April 11–17, 2016||Munich, Germany||583,000 approximately in 2016|
|Beef Australia||Beef||May (triennially)||Rockhampton, Australia||90,000 in 2015|
|Berlin Music Week||Music||September 3–7, 2014||Berlin||70,000 in 2012|
|Bologna Motor Show||Auto show||December 3–11, 2016||Bologna, Italy||450,000 in 2013|
|boot Düsseldorf||Boats||January 21–29, 2017||Messe Düsseldorf, Germany||267,379 in 2008|
|Buenos Aires International Book Fair||Books||April 27-May 15, 2017||Buenos Aires, Argentina||1,240,000 in 2008|
|Cairo International Book Fair||Books||January 27, 2017 - February 10, 2017||Cairo, Egypt||2,000,000 in 2007|
|Kolkata International Book Fair||Books||Late January - Early February||Kolkata, India||2,000,000 in 2012 - largest book fair in the world|
|Canton Fair||Consumer and Industry Products||Spring session: April 15–19 (Phase 1); April 23–27 (Phase 2); May 1–5 (Phase 3). (111th Session)
Autumn session: October 15–19 (Phase 1); October 23–27 (Phase 2); October 31- November 4 (Phase 3).
|Guangzhou, China||192,013 in Spring Session 2008|
|CeBIT||Information and communication technology||March 20–24, 2017||Hanover, Germany||480,000 in 2007|
|Comic Market||Comics||August 11–13, 2017||Tokyo, Japan||550,000 in Summer Session 2008|
|COMPUTEX Taipei||Computer show||May 30, 2017 – June 3, 2017||Taipei, Taiwan||106,517 in 2008|
|CONEXPO-CON/AGG||Construction||March 7–11, 2017||Las Vegas Convention Center, Nevada, United States||145,000 approximately in 2008|
|Drupa||Printing Equipment||May 31-June 10, 2016||Messe Düsseldorf, Germany||393,654 in 2004 from 127 countries|
|E3, Electronic Entertainment Expo||Video games||June 13–15, 2017||Los Angeles, California, United States||68,400 (2017)|
|EICMA||Motorcycles||November 10–13, 2016||Fiera Milano, Italy||504,999 in 2008|
|Euroflora||Flower show||April/May once time every 5 years||Genoa, Italy||730,000 in 1986|
|EuroShop||Retailing||March 5–09, 2017||Messe Düsseldorf, Germany||104,766 in 2008|
|Farnborough Air Show||Aerospace||16–22 July 2018||Farnborough Airport, Hampshire, UK||209,000 (2012)|
|Fieracavalli||Horse show||November 10–13, 2016||Verona, Italy||125,975 in 2008|
|Fiera internazionale del libro||Books||May 18–22, 2017||Turin, Italy||300,000 in 2007|
|Frankfurt Book Fair||Books||October 11–15, 2017||Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany||280,194 in 2011|
|Games Convention||Video games||ended 2008||Leipzig, Germany||203,000 in 2008|
|Gamescom||Video games||August 21–25, 2018||Cologne Trade Fair, Germany||350,000 in 2017|
|Genoa International Boat Show||Boats||September 21–26, 2017||Genoa, Italy||236,322 in 2008|
|GITEX||Consumer electronics||March 29, 2007 – April 1, 2017||Dubai, United Arab Emirates||146,000 in 2016|
|Hannover Messe||Industry, Technology||April 24–28, 2017||Hanover, Germany||193,222 in 2008|
|High Point Market||Furniture||April and October||High Point, North Carolina United States||70,000-80,000|
|IFA, Consumer Electronics Unlimited||Consumer electronics and home appliances||September 1–6, 2017||Berlin, Germany||240,000 in 2016|
|imm Cologne||Furniture||January 15–21, 2018||Cologne Trade Fair, Germany||106,677 in 2008|
|Intermot||Motorcycles||October 3–7, 2018||Cologne Trade Fair, Germany||203,000 in 2012|
|International CES||Consumer electronics||January 9–12, 2018||Las Vegas Convention Center, Nevada, United States||177,000+ in 2016|
|Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung||Cars||September 14–29, 2017||Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany||931,700 in 2015|
|IGW Berlin||Sustainable agriculture||January 20–29, 2017||Messe Berlin, Germany||424,502 in 2008|
|ITB Berlin||tourism||March 10–12, 2017||Messe Berlin, Germany||149,776 in 2008|
|International Technical Fair||machine engineering, automobiles, transport, information technologies, software, electronics, electrical engineering, construction, chemistry, power engineering, ecology||September 25–30, 2017||Plovdiv, Bulgaria||141,000 in 2006|
|Jakarta Fair||Retail (Cars and motorcycles, electronics, sports equipment, fashion accessories and garments, to household utilities, furniture, food, handcrafts, herbs and medicine, cosmetics, banking services and many others)||May 22–30, 2019||Jakarta, Indonesia|
|K||Plastics||Oct 19–26, 2016||Messe Düsseldorf, Germany||222,486 in 2010|
|Light + Building||Architectural lighting design||March 18–23, 2018||Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany||167,084 in 2008|
|MEDICA||Medical technology||November 13–16, 2017||Messe Düsseldorf, Germany||136,871 in 2008|
|Mobile World Congress||mobile telephony, Communications||February 25, 2019 – February 28, 2019||Barcelona, Spain||107,000 in 2018|
|Mondial de l'Automobile||Auto show||September 29, 2016 – October 16, 2016||Paris, France||1,400,000 in 2006|
|NAB Show||Broadcasting||April 22–27, 2017||Las Vegas Convention Center, Nevada, United States||93,000+ in 2013|
|NAMM||Music||January 25–28, 2017||Anaheim, California, United States||85,000|
|NAIAS||Cars||January 14–21, 2018||Detroit, Michigan, United States||800,000 in 2018|
|National Agricultural Fieldays||Agriculture||4 days in Mid June||Hamilton, New Zealand||125,878 in 2007|
|Novi Sad Fair||Agriculture||Middle of May||Novi Sad, Serbia||600,000|
|Nuremberg International Toy Fair||Toys, Games||February 1–6, 2017||Nuremberg, Germany||80,000 in 2011|
|Paris International Agricultural Show||Agricultural show||February 25, 2017 - March 5, 2017||Paris, France||619,000 in 2017|
|Paris Air Show - SIAE||Aerospace||June 19–25, 2017||Paris, France||322,000 in 2017|
|photokina||Photography||May 27–30, 2020||Cologne Trade Fair, Germany||180,000 in 2018|
|Salone del Mobile (International Furniture Fair)||Furniture||March 2007||FieraMilano, Italy||270,000 in 2007|
|SEMA Show||Automobile aftermarket||First week of November||Las Vegas, Nevada United States||125,000 in 2014|
|SHOT Show||Firearms||January 22–25, 2019||Sands Expo, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||60,000+ in 2018|
|SIMA||Real estate||May 25–28, 2017||Madrid, Spain||122,760 in 2008|
|SIMO TCI||Consumer electronics||October 18–20, 2017||Madrid, Spain||300,000 approximately|
|Sydney Royal Easter Show||Agriculture||14 days over Easter||Sydney, Australia||900,000 in 2007|
|Tehran International Book Fair||Books||May 3–13, 2017||Tehran, Iran||2,000,000 approximately in 2010|
|The Big 5||Construction||November 26–29, 2017 (annual)||Dubai, UAE||78,579 participants in 2016|
|Thessaloniki International Fair||General||Annually||Thessaloniki, Greece||250,000 in 2011|
|Tokyo Motor Show||Auto shows||October 27, 2017 - November 5, 2017||Tokyo, Japan||1,512,100 in 2005|
|Tokyo Game Show||Video games||September 21–24, 2017||Tokyo, Japan||271,224 in 2016|
|Trade Expo Indonesia||Export||October 24–28, 2018||BSD City, Indonesia||28,000|
|World Dairy Expo||Dairy Industry||October 3-03, 2017||Alliant Energy Center, 2015 at Madison, Wisconsin, United States||75,000|
- Agricultural show
- Buyers Market of American Craft
- County fair
- Lead retrieval
- List of world's fairs
- State fair
- World's fair
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