Which Are the Best Trade Shows For Your Exhibit Displays?

Everyone needs something to aspire to! Even as you’re slogging through quarter after quarter of growth that’s slower than you want, it’s good to remember what you’re working towards. Every industry has their “Star” trade shows, the ones that get huge media coverage and guarantee great ROI for their exhibit displays. Simply showing at the right show for the first time will give you the biggest push yet.visionary designs hybrid exhibit display 10x20 with canopy lights and counters

So, for a number of the top industries, we’ve put together a quick reference to the top shows to attend. If you’re new to the trade show game, these are the shows you should set your sights on.


The top venue for consumer electronics is actually the largest consumer show around, period. The International Consumer Electronics Show. With square footage often approaching the 2 million mark, more money is lavished on it than any other as well. Production values – and a lack of restraint – often rival that of Broadway producers or theme park designers. Few shows are as widely covered, either.

Basically, if you are in any way connected to electronics, find a way to get here.


For pretty much everything else that goes in a house or office, there is Atlanta’s International Gift & Home Furnishings Market. Housed at America’s Mart, a nearly year-long revolving series of fashion and furnishing related expositions, this is one of the truly prime venues in the country. Whether you make it into the main show, or one of the smaller ones, Atlanta is one of our thriving economic hubs. The exposure is nearly as good as Vegas, and the people are nicer too!

Try to make it if you can, is what we’re saying here.12ft tall free standing trade show display fabric tower


Fashion is MAGIC, in Las Vegas. It’s coming as part of a series of mid-August fashion events, making for one of the year’s glitzy highlights. It won’t all be fun and glamour, though – the recent fires in Bangladesh will be a focus as the industry looks to rehabilitate its image even as its being attacked from several sides. This may be the most interesting MAGIC in awhile, no matter how you look at it.

Plus, the blog reports are usually stunning.


If you’re in the business of getting it there, on time, and hopefully unbroken, you want to head for PACK EXPO. It’s happening this September, in Vegas, and is the best place to improve your packaging and ground logistics, or to show off your own innovations! Like electronics, it’s not too hard to construct a reason for being here, with hundreds of companies rubbing elbows and cutting timetables.


The true cream of the automotive show elite go to the deceptively-named Specialty Equipment Market Association Show. Like the CES, SEMA takes place in Las Vegas and also like the CES, it’s not open to the general public. Instead, it’s 100,000 VIPs representing industry and governments worldwide. This is where you pick up contacts that lead to the big orders, but competition is fierce. This might be just the place to set up your expo display and promote your latest green power-saving idea, though!


If four wheels is at least fourteen too few, head to the Mid-America Trucking Show! Next appearing March 27-29, 2014, you’ll see all the latest in big rigs and lorries, as well as having the chance to make contacts at hundreds of transportation firms. Whichever end of the trucking industry you’re in, MATS delivers the goods. (Sorry.)


If firearms are your thing the biggest show is the one attached to the yearly National Rifle Association Convention, which generally takes place over three days in a different city every year. This year’s was their biggest yet, in fact, with more than 86,000 attending! If you’d rather avoid the politics associated with the NRA, the largest independent show is Oklahoma’s Tulsa Arms Show, with over 4,000 exhibit displays and tabletop displays.

Bigger Guns

Or, if you prefer to see the cutting-edge of defense technology, there are a couple claimants to biggest there. Likely at the top of the list is London’s Defense & Security Event, coming up this September. This one gets buyers representing governments, including most of the military states whose representatives can get into Britain. Or, there’s IDEX in Abu Dhabi. Exact figures aren’t always available, as this is where those who can’t go to London go instead.

(As a side note, speaking of gamification, front and center on DSEI’s webpage, practically at eye level, is something that looks a lot like a Playstation controller. Just sayin’…)


Finally, for those pushing bits rather than anything physical, you want to go to NAB. NABShow, also held in Vegas, is the swiftly-growing home for those on the cutting edge of content marketing, Internet advertising, and virtually all other forms of putting data in front of eyeballs while extracting new data from them in return. Don’t think about attending without IT guys in tow.


For those companies that focus on smaller, niche markets, or want to filter through available shows to focus on different countries or regions, there is an invaluable tool at tsnn.com. They list the top 100 and 250 biggest trade shows there, but their search tool lets you pick an industry, or even just a product keyword, and review just those shows. You can also filter by location, date of the show, etc. You can also find venue information for the shows that interest you. If you’re marketing with trade shows, this is a great way to do your research and make sure you get the best bang for your buck with your expo displays!

For more, check out the economics of exhibiting or our pre-show checklist.

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