8 Different Types of Trade Shows

8 Different Types of Trade Shows Banner

A trade show, simply defined, is an event where vendors can showcase their products and services to potential buyers and partners. (See “What is a Trade Show?” for a complete definition, including purpose and benefits of expos and trade shows). 

Trade shows can be open to the public or closed to industry specialists for high level business-to-business development. They almost always have a theme, specialized to certain industries. If you’re considering attending trade shows or investing in exhibitions for your business, it is important to understand the different types, how they differ from each other, and how they can help you fulfill your objectives. 

1. Healthcare Industry Trade Shows 

The global healthcare industry is worth over $12 trillion dollars. When medical professionals, researchers, hospital administrators, insurance providers, pharmacists and others involved in that immense healthcare ecosystem want to learn about new trends in treatments, products and services, they might consider attending a healthcare expo. Such a giant industry has multiple subsects of industries and specialized trade show options. 

Some examples of different healthcare trade shows offered annually 

  • International Vision Expo and Conference. Twice a year, in Las Vegas and New York, this expo aims at attracting the top vision professionals and industry partners to showcase and discuss top trends in eye fashion and diagnostic technology.  
  • The Pharma CI Conference. This annual conference in Newark, New Jersey is the largest exposition for top executives in biotech, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices. Over seventy industry leaders discuss global issues and related business solutions. 
  • iPharma Expo 2024. This trade show in San Francisco showcases the latest trends in pharmaceuticals from over 150 exhibitors. 
  • EMS World Expo. Thousands of EMS professionals attend this annual event in Las Vegas. It has over 300 exhibitors demonstrating new trends and products in emergency services.

2. Manufacturing Industry Trade Shows

If you’re working in fields related to top manufacturing trends, you might consider one of these trade shows. Along with showcasing technological advances in machinery and tools, they often discuss innovations for improving manufacturing efficiency and processes. 

Examples of manufacturing shows include

  • The San Antonio Manufacturers Association Trade Show brings together professionals to exhibit trends and discuss macro topics like generational transitions, workforce development, and government procurement. 
  • The Advanced Manufacturing Expo in Grand Rapids, MI, hosts more than 3000 manufacturers and manufacturing experts to explore automation, metalworking and mechanical engineering. 
  • The PACK Expos are global shows with multiple dates for attendance in different geographies around the world. They focus on packaging and processing solutions across different industries. 

3. Arts and Crafts Industry Expos

Artists from every medium – pottery, jewelry, and other crafts – are always looking for ways to connect to industry influencers and purchasers and learn about new trends and design products. That’s why there are hundreds of different arts and crafts trade shows to choose from across the United States.

Some of the best arts and craft shows

  • American Craft Council hosts one of the largest shows in Baltimore annually. 350 artists attend and showcase art and craft methods to industry specialists and the public. 
  • Creativation by NAMTA is a New Orleans event focused on materials suppliers for fine arts and crafting. 
  • Art Basel, in Hong Kong has multiple sub-sectors for arts and crafts and showcases the newest trends in design and fine art from Asia and globally. 

4. Technology Industry Shows

Technology and innovation cross-cuts a wide variety of topics, from computing to home appliance products. You can find shows for different niches or general shows for the highest quality industry advancements. 

Technology trade shows are the best places to exhibit and learn about new breakthroughs in robotics and other innovations in electronics and communications.

Interesting tech trade shows to consider

  • The Consumer Electronics Show (CES)  is the biggest business-to-business electronics show in the United States, held annually in Las Vegas. The show is not open to the general public. It is focused on gathering the highest level professionals. A variety of products can be found on display, from video games to self-driving vehicles. 
  • InfoComm focuses on audio and visual communications in Las Vegas every year. It  showcases over 1,000 companies in virtual reality, home security and other related fields. Over 40,000 people attend. 
  • The Mobile World Conference is held in Barcelona. It may be the largest global event for industry specialists in telecommunications and connectivity. You can find global mobile operators, device manufacturers, technology providers, vendors, and content owners in attendance.

5. Amusement Industry Trade Shows

These shows demonstrate the newest application trends for theme parks and amusement attractions. These are opportunities to witness some of the most creative booth ideas and learn from industry professionals.  

Amusement and entertainment trade shows are great places to experience new arcade games and rides.

Examples of different types of amusement industry show

  • The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions hosts a variety of events across the United States and globally, including expos, award shows, and education events for showcasing new ideas and learning from professionals. Expo Europe is one of their top global shows.. 
  • DEAL, in Dubai, is the top show for the Middle/MENA region to showcase new ideas in coin machines, gaming, and other entertainment and amusement features. 

6. Agriculture Trade Shows

Agriculture trade shows are where you can learn the latest trends in farming machinery and technology. Innovations in forestry, gardening, and industrial food production are also displayed. Agriculture is one of the largest industry sectors in the world, so options for different shows are plentiful!

Agricultural expos and manufacturing trade shows are both good places to learn about new trends in machinery for production.

Examples of agricultural trade shows

  • World Beef Expo:  Over 5,000 livestock champions gather in Wisconsin to showcase new trends in beef cultivation for 20,000 visitors. 
  • Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition: 80,000 or more visitors will attend this event in Georgia to learn about production of staples of the US South like cotton, soybeans, peanuts and hay. 
  • The Loggers Expo: This is one of the premiere events for timber harvesters, held in either Maine or Vermont annually. 

7. Restaurant and Food Industry Trade Shows

This is one of the largest categories of trade shows, with thousands of related expositions and events held annually. We have a complete guide to the best food trade shows if this is your industry type. 

Some examples of different shows include

  • The School Nutrition Association concentrates on new trends in providing health food to American school children.
  • The National Restaurant Association attracts thousands of consumers and restaurant supply purchasers to experience new food, drink and service trends. 
  • The United Fresh Convention and Expo is the must-attend event for professionals building supply chains for fresh produce. 

8. Housing and Building Industry

If you have products or purchase needs within the building sector, for designing new homes, offices or other types of structures, you might research different types of trade shows in the integrated housing and building sector. At these shows, you can learn about new trends in materials, work flows and legal requirements. You can also connect with designers and architects. 

The best housing and building shows

  • If you’re interested in environmentally-friendly design, you might consider the annual Greenbuild conference in Philadelphia. 
  • One of the largest shows, on the other hand, which cross-cuts across sectors, is the International Builders Show in Las Vegas. Over 60,000 industry professionals attend the event, representing over 1,800 brands and specialities in the building industry. 

Takeaways – What You Really Need to Know about Types of Trade Shows

These 8 types of shows are just the tipping point within the thousands of different expos that are held across the world annually. There are also shows relevant across industries. For example, apparel trade shows often showcase different trends of fashion and utility across industries like agriculture, food and restaurant service, healthcare, and the amusement industry. 

After you choose what type of trade show you really should attend, based on your company goals and objectives as a vendor, supplier, purchaser, or related industry specialist, you need to consider how you will present yourself. Virtual trade show exhibits are a growing trend across industries, for instance, but are they the best option for you? Face-to-face connections and experiencing products is important as well, and requires a different type of exhibit. 

Companies like Blazer can help you decide upon the best strategy for your expo goals and then help you develop comprehensive virtual and physical displays to draw in the right attention at your next trade show.

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