Weekly News & Insights: January Expos Set the Pace

Graphic: stock.xchng

Graphic: stock.xchng

The trade show world always watches closely what happens in January because it often sets the tone for the rest of the year. And if that holds true, this year could produce another bumper crop of expos. Here are just a few examples:

  • The Winter Fancy Food Show, held January 20-22 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center had record attendance with more than 18,600 buyers.
  • The North American International Auto Show, which ran for two weeks in Detroit, hosted nearly 800,000 attendees — the highest number since 2004, which is a good sign for the auto industry.
  • The AHR Expo (heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration show) held January 28-30 in Dallas set four records with 52,000 attendees and 397,000 square feet of exhibits.
  • AG Connect Expo & Summit, held Jan. 29-31 right here in Kansas City, MO, nearly doubled attendance from their previous show in 2011 (due in part to a collocated event), as well as setting records for exhibit space. (Full disclaimer: I conducted exhibitor training for this show.)
  • And final numbers are in for the 2013 International CES, held Jan. 8-11 in Las Vegas: records were broken for net square feet (1.9 million) and number of exhibitors (3,239).


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With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. Exhibit Design That Works (the first book in the YES: Your Exhibit Success series) debuted in July 2017. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community.

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