What is a Trade Show?

When you think of trade shows, what do you think of? What is a trade show, exactly?

A convention center full of booths and displays, with a few hundred merchants all trying to get your attention? Maybe you think of the latest industry developments being shown off for attendees, or the panels where you can get the latest scoop on what’s happening in the field? These are all accurate, but they’re just a snapshot of what trade shows are in today’s day and age. To really understand what a trade show is, and why they are they way they are, it’s important to look back at how they developed.

What is a Trade Show?

At its core, a trade show is merely an event where goods and services in a particular industry are exhibited and demonstrated. At least, that’s the definition according to Investor Words. But how did trade shows develop? It didn’t just happen overnight, did it?why trade show? does a harvest-fest count?

Today’s trade shows are the great-grandchildren of the old open-air festivals and great bazaars. Humans have been trading since the dawn of our species, and some of our earliest festivals and holidays always came with large gatherings of people. Large gatherings meant there were more customers, so merchants flocked to these events to interact with a larger population than they would normally have access to. There were many merchants who traveled from one place to another, making sure to hit these festivals in order to constantly have new, and large, audiences to interact with.

So how did we go from a general, open-air market to today’s trade shows? The short answer is that our economies developed, and diversified. As our societies grew more complicated, we developed trades, then industries. Merchants could be specialized, dealing in shoes, fabric, spices, or steel. When demand for a particular industry became loud enough, it was possible to have particular events dedicated to one, particular trade. Whether it was a yearly fair dedicated to horse trading (and the tools and professions surrounding horses), or a tournament where armorers and weapon smiths could make a name for themselves, all the original trade shows needed were an audience, and an event.

What Those Early Trade Shows Became

Fast-forward to today. Our economies are now highly specialized, and businesses have the ability to be successful by filling a niche instead of catering to a broad spectrum of needs. Globalization has allowed us to connect in ways we’ve never seen before, but despite our advanced technology there’s still a primal drive to do business face-to-face. To gather, and to see with our own eyes what is on offer.what is a trade show - css 2013 expo

Not only that but trade shows themselves are big business. Merchants need a place to stay, they need food, they need support services, and they have to rent space in the location where the trade show is taking place. Attendees need many of the same things. That’s why successful trade shows are a win for everyone involved. Merchants form new business relationships, and find new clients. Attendees find businesses and products they may not have located in any other circumstances, allowing them to capitalize on the opportunity. Local businesses get a rush of commerce, making trade show season a great time all around.

Trade shows have been with us, in one form or another, for centuries. While the world is growing more digital by the day, and physical space is less necessary for a business to be successful, it’s unlikely that trade shows are going anywhere anytime soon. While new ones may crop up, and old ones may fade away, the need for in-person interaction, and the appeal for an event that caters to a pre-selected demographic is still going strong.

Can we help you with your Trade Shows?

If you take your products and services to trade shows, we’d like to help. As an independent distributor for most of the top notch US made trade show manufacturers, American Image Displays is able to offer almost every type of trade show display and accessory. This includes the plush carpet or soft foam tiles under your feet, to that large banner with your logo on it hanging from the ceiling – and everything in between. Banner stands, printed table covers, literature racks. Pop up displays, panel displays, truss displays, and hybrids, we offer them in 8ft, 10ft, 20ft and larger widths. Custom displays, semi-custom displays, double-deck displays, and more. Give us a shout or drop us a line, we’re happy to help in any way we can.