Trade Shows | What Trends Do We Expect to See in 2021?

Trade shows were a big opportunity for businesses to meet face-to-face, create potential partnerships, and demonstrate their products. When these networking events came to a screeching halt early in 2020, it put massive pressure on companies as they lost a prominent source of business for the year. 

In an attempt to keep businesses connected, many trade shows turned into virtual events or were postponed to a date in the next year. This has helped but does not replace the human connection businesses crave at trade shows. It’s not certain when things will return to normal, but adapting to this “new normal” will help your business stay ahead of the curve. So, what trends do we expect to see in 2021?

Capacity Changes

Each state is different, and while some may be locked down harder than others, we expect to see restrictions on trade show events. Taking control is the best way to keep event-goers safe, and the most effective way to do so is to implement a cap on capacity. However, don’t expect to see the number of attendees increase immediately. It will take time for venues to gauge how many people will be allowed to gather at a time. On a positive note, those in attendance may be more interested in what your business or industry has to offer.

Virtual Substitutes

For the foreseeable future, we will most likely continue to see events held virtually. This is a necessary tool to keep businesses connected and up to date with their industry. If you’re feeling fatigued by online meetings, you are not alone. Harvard Business Review discussed what “Zoom fatigue” is and how you can combat the feeling. While most people prefer in-person events, virtual events are much safer, and you should expect this to be the norm and go with the flow rather than fight it. 

Related Article: Experiential Marketing Paves The Way Without Trade Shows

Roadshow Events

Another trend you should expect is an increase in roadshows. These events are a great way for businesses wanting to stay in front of their audience’s eyes and on the top of their mind. The amount of roadshows going from city to city has increased, likely because it is easy to meet with people and stay socially distanced because you’re outdoors. It has the same effect as trade shows, but instead of having people travel to see your business, you take your business to meet with people. 


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