Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

August 24 2014

3 Surprising Facts About Young Trade Show Attendees

By David McMillin
Young Trade Show Attendees

Everyone’s talking about young attendees. They represent the future of trade show floor traffic and meeting registration numbers. As more meeting professionals and trade show organizers work to appeal to this audience, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research and Society of Independent Show Organizers partnered to survey 300 young professionals between the ages of 23 and 40 who have attended a B2B exhibition within the past two years.

Many of the findings are positive for the industry. The overwhelming majority of respondents indicate that they will continue to attend shows. They are the destination to explore new products and make purchasing decisions and recommendations. In addition to good news, the report also highlights some surprising pieces of information. As you outline a strategy for connecting with young prospective attendees, here are three surprising facts.

SEE ALSO: Why Attendees Will Skip Your Trade Show

1) Email continues to outpace social circles.

Many show organizers are working to expand their reach on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. However, the study reveals that young professionals are still turning to their inboxes for useful information to decide whether or not to attend a trade show. Emails from exhibition organizers ranked as the most trusted (37 percent) and the most used (58 percent) sources. Despite a growing movement toward online peer recommendations, just 13 percent of respondents ranked social media their most trusted sources.

“Though social media is growing in use as an information resource to help identify exhibitions to attend for one’s job, it is still a minority activity,” the report states. “Nearly three-quarters do not use this channel for this purpose.”

SEE ALSO: 3 Ways To Get Your Attendees To Open And Read Your Emails

2) Print is still the most powerful on-site resource.

Every trade show organizer has heard the calls to stop printing on-site programs. No one uses them anymore, some might say. We do everything with our smartphones, others might complain. While it is true that more attendees are using digital devices to stay connected, it appears that even young digital natives still have a love for those hefty printed programs. In fact, 59 percent of respondents indicated that they rely on the printed show program for planning and staying on schedule. Only 26 percent of respondents included the show’s mobile app in their list of on-site resources.

For your exhibitors, print is still crucial, too. Printed brochures and catalogs are the number one preferred method for receiving product information. Scanning QR codes and USB drives were much further down the list.

SEE ALSO: How To Make Your Mobile Meeting App A Must-Download

3) Big names can be a big bust.

Young attendees may spend plenty of time watching reality television and catching up on celebrity gossip, but when it comes to learning, they still recognize the value in finding trusted experts. Seventy-five percent of respondents preferred educational speakers known as industry experts in their respective fields while just nine percent indicated any special regard for celebrities. As show organizers work to add more education to the attendee experience, this audience segment is counting on compelling names to inspire and motivate them — not actors or athletes.

If you’re looking for more insights into appealing to young attendees, click here to access 

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