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19 Made-Up Trade Show Statistics

Made-Up Trade Show StatisticsWarning: these statistics are not real. They were not researched by a team of academics, presented in peer-reviewed articles, nor compiled from industry surveys.  Instead, these trade show statistics were created in the deep recesses of my tainted imagination, which has long been held in thrall of the trade show world.

And yet, there is more than just a shadow of truth in these fictional face-to-face facts.  Read on for the unexpected insights from these counterfeit exhibition statistics:

  • 82% of U.S. booth staffers only speak one language
  • 14% of booth staffers are wearing the wrong shoe size
  • 11% of all booth staffers are in the bathroom at any time during show hours
  • 7% of all trade show booth graphics are illegible
  • 12% of all exhibits have a typo in their graphics
  • 54% of exhibitors have not set a measurable goal
  • 42% of exhibitors did not invite anyone to meet them at their booth
  • 57% of exhibits are designed from the exhibitor’s perspective, rather than the attendee’s perspective
  • While 100% of exhibitors consider visuals, only 30% consider sounds, 25% consider touch, 12% consider smell, and 6% consider taste
  • 10% of exhibit graphics portray products no longer sold by the exhibitor
  • 24% of exhibitors rely on collecting attendees’ business cards, rather than using badge scanners or lead cards
  • 41% of exhibitors do not have a formalized lead follow up plan
  • 15% of booth staffers were hired by their company within only the past month
  • 78% of trade show attendees subconsciously decide whether they will buy from an exhibitor within the first 10 seconds of entering their displays
  • 55% of booth staffers truly listen before responding to attendees
  • 2% of trade show attendees actually read every exhibit graphic in the hall
  • 16% of exhibitors have the wrong size staples for their staplers
  • 23% of exhibitors lose all their pens to attendees before the show ends
  • 5% of trade show exhibitors and attendees meet their future spouse at a trade show

Do any of these statistics seem eerily true to you?  Do they jibe with your own experience?  Please let us know in the comments box below.  Or, get creative and share some made-up trade show statistics of your own!  And remember, “98% of all statistics are made up”!

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About the Author

Mike Thimmesch is the Principal at Thimmesch Marketing. For over 25 years, he has created and implemented innovative marketing, lead generation, and exhibiting strategies that profitably grow company sales and brand awareness. Mike rose to Director level at Skyline Exhibits, where he helped generate over a half million leads, resulting in over $1 billion in sales. He published 11 industry white papers and eight exhibiting books, presented over 100 trade show webinars, and wrote over 200 exhibit marketing blog posts.

15 responses to “19 Made-Up Trade Show Statistics

  1. Great list. But here’s a couple more that I am sure a trade show facts:
    – 97% of all attendees promise to buy a product or service from at least 42% of all exhibitors.
    – 83% of all exhibitors believe that 80% of their hot leads will contact them within a week and make a purchase.
    – 19% of all exhibitors consider a comfortable chair a booth essential.
    – 52% of all exhibitors equate a successful show with the number of giveaways they gave away.

  2. 60% of all booth “give away” items end up in the trash in the attendees hotel room.

    30% of all booth “give away” items end up in a childs bedroom or toy box.

    9% of all booth “give away” items end up in the trash within the exhibit hall itself.

    Approximately 1% of all booth “give away” items actually make it back to the attendees office for later referral.

    75% of the people who receive a pen at a trade show booth think it runs out of ink much too quickly and throw it away never again to read the name of the company that gave it to them.

  3. Hello Pete,

    Shame on us exhibitors when we fail to choose quality giveaways that our prospects will crave so much they make it back to the office! Although I wouldn’t mind a giveaway that ended up in the toy box, if it sparked a meaningful conversation with a high-quality attendee I would not have met otherwise. Thanks for adding your stats!

  4. 99% of all invitees who aren’t already customers don’t accept the invitation and visit the booth.

    100% of give-aways that stop a passer-by and lead to at least 60 seconds of positive conversation have accomplished their primary purpose.

    1. Bob,

      I completely agree, if your giveaway stops an attendee that has a good chance of becoming a qualified lead, your giveaway has paid for itself. The average cost per trade show lead is north of $200. I’d trade a $3 giveaway to get an extra person to stop any day.

      1. The problem with this theory is that the majority of people who cruise by and grab a giveaway item aren’t having a conversation with ANYBODY in the booth. That’s a waste of a $3 giveaway.

        1. Thanks for visiting our blog, Marlys. While some exhibitors are willing to leave their giveaways out in the open for anyone to snatch, that problem can be remedied by proper training and placement of the giveaways. Whether they cost $1, $3, or $10, trade show giveaways should not be left in the grab-and-go zone. They should be in the staffers hands or pockets, ready to help start a meaningful conversation or to thank an attendee for a good one.

          For example, in 2003 we introduced our Tube System exhibit system. Our staffers offered attendees a watch shaped like a tube. Staffers would say, “We are giving away Tube watches to help introduce our new Tube Exhibit System. What color would you like?” Attendees would stop and learn about our new product, and we would get a good lead. No grab and dash allowed. At a show last month, we had a $9 giveaway, which was a USB drive shaped like one of our portable display cases that converts into a table. It was a big hit — we gave away 600 — but every one of those 600 had a conversation and the vast majority became a lead.

  5. 40% of conference attendees do not visit the exhibits.
    85% of attendees visit a vendor for the giveaway.
    25% of booth visitors will listen to the sales pitch in hopes of upgrading the giveaway.
    60% of booth visitors with current needs will move closer to the sale after visiting the booth.

    1. I really like your last stat, which demonstrates why trade shows work in the first place.

      I actually checked with our industry trade show and found out that over 90% of their conference attendees made it to the show floor.

  6. I don’t have a percentage but our giveaway is a 2mb memory double sided “business card” that has logo, contact information, product graphics, etc. on the outside and contains a navigating screen and links to videos, drawings, brochure, and external links to our web site on the inside. Even if they erase the digital contents it still works as a business card. We only give these out to visitors to the booth, and customers.

  7. Thanks to everyone for sharing their own made up statistics. Fortunately for exhibitors, there are some great real statistics that demonstrate the strength of trade shows as a marketing medium.

    We just released a new white paper, The Value of Trade Shows, that include these gems:
    > Exhibitors that responded to the survey plan on average to increase their budgets by 9.6%, and increase the number of events they exhibit in or sponsor from 21 events in 2010 to 23 in 2011.
    > 63% of exhibitors indicated their organizations’ rate conventions, trade shows and conferences as “extremely” or “very valuable.”
    > An extremely high 91% of exhibitors say that conventions, trade shows and conferences will remain to be critical to marketing over the next five years.

    There’s more to be found in the complete 24 page report, which you can ask for here.

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