The acceptance of exhibitions as part of companies’ B2B marketing is a continuing trend: more than one-fourth (29%) of German companies already taking part want to invest more money in exhibition participation both at home and abroad in 2019 and 2020. Fifty-six per cent are planning equally high outlays; only 15% intend to spend less. On average, the companies want to increase their exhibition budgets by 3% over the next two years as compared to 2017/2018. These figures are the result of AUMA MesseTrend 2019, a survey of 500 representatively selected companies that principally exhibit at B2B exhibitions. TNS Emnid conducted its 20th study on behalf of AUMA, the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry, in November 2018.
Of the companies wanting to spend more on exhibitions 43% mainly invest in the quality of the presentations, particularly in the booth size. Those who want to spend less will primarily cut individual exhibitions (63%); in other words, for the most part they won’t reduce the quality of the existing stands.
The number of exhibitions German companies plan to participate in will remain largely stable. On average, they will attend 8.6 exhibitions over the next two years; the number in 2017 and 2018 was 8.8. The slight decline applies to domestic exhibitions: 5.2 participations are planned within Germany (5.4); the number of participations abroad remains unchanged at 3.4.
Exhibitors with the highest sales volumes were in the lead in terms of the planned number of exhibition participations; companies with annual sales of 125 million euros and above are planning to attend an average of 20 exhibitions within the next two years.
Overall, exhibitions have even expanded their leading role in B2B marketing over the last few years. A total of 83% of the exhibiting companies view trade fairs as important or very important (2015: 81%). That makes exhibitions the second most important marketing tool behind the universal “own website” instrument. Following exhibitions are field sales forces, direct mailing, online sales, social media and advertising in the trade press.
AUMA chairman Walter Mennekes commented on the results of the MesseTrend 2019 this way: “Digital media support exhibitors and visitors in procuring information and initiating contacts. Real-life, reliable contact between provider and customer and the product test can’t be replaced by digital instruments. Therefore, expenditures for exhibitions are a wise investment.”
Compared with the first survey 20 years ago, the exhibition budget share of the participating companies’ total communications budgets has grown significantly from 38% in 2000 to 47% in the current survey. The results also make clear that companies have increasingly taken part in exhibitions abroad over the last 20 years. In the year 2000, 28% were also active participants in foreign exhibitions; that percentage is now 43%.
Furthermore, the AUMA MesseTrend 2019 study includes results to questions about the general significance of exhibitions in the communications mix, the development in exhibition budgets and the aims of participations. The complete study will be made public in mid-March 2019 (only in German language).
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