It is an interesting thought experiment to consider what the impact on a trade show is to your company. There are very few public resources that objectively present whether or not exhibiting at a trade show is worthwhile. As it happens, we will be exhibiting @ IMTS East Building, Booth E-5622.
"The International Manufacturing Technology Show is one of the largest industrial trade shows in the world, featuring more than 2,000 exhibiting companies and 114,147 registrants. The event is held every two years in September at McCormick Place, Chicago."
To derive some possibility of determining the advantage of attending the IMTS show and or exhibiting, I plotted out four scenarios. IMTS attendance from 1990 to 2014 vs. a variety of other trends.
- BLUE IMTS Attendance vs.RED GDP
- BLUE IMTS Attendance vs.RED NYSE
- BLUE IMTS Attendance vs.RED Airplane deliveries Boeing+Airbus
- BLUE IMTS Attendance vs.RED US Auto sales (millions)
What does this suggest?
While the data does not strongly indicate what the benefits of exhibiting at IMTS will have on your company directly, it does give an indication of the attendance and how many people, potentially, will be exposed to your product or company. One measure of whether to go or not could be how many people may attend so, in that light, let's consider the graphs.
The IMTS attendance as displayed in the graphs shows the impact of the events in 2001 IMTS off year. It also indicates when the recession of 2008-10 hit. This directly impacted the attendance of IMTS.
In the first graph, it looks as if the GDP doesn't correlate at all to the IMTS attendance. In the second graph, the DOW Industrial Index shows the explosive growth of that index in the last 25 years. When you consider the growth of the Dow, it doesn't correlate to IMTS attendance, when you consider the historical values of the Dow Pre 1990.
I would like to think that graph 3, the airplane deliveries, reflects the growing demand for more planes, jet engines, etc and that this is helping to drive some increases in attendance as the production and future production for airplane deliveries grows. Finally in graph 4, the auto sales in the US, really only has a hiccup leading up to the financial crisis and bailout and it would appear as that situation became clearer, attendance picked back up.
Should I stay or should I go (to IMTS)
Selling @ IMTS
I think that the attendance trends over the last three shows indicates that the attendance will still grow. Will it meet or exceed the nearly 20 year old highs of around 121K? I have no idea. There is a really good chance however that you will be in front of 110K+ attendees.
Buying @ IMTS
Will the generational change of the internet buyer start to attenuate the attendance? IMTS offers a one stop shop "to kick the tires" on new equipment and technology.
Potential buyers may have a stake in the purchase, so I think those people will want to come and see, in person, the machines and technology they are considering to purchase.