What Is a Trade Show Convention?

G. Wiesen

A trade show convention is a gathering of professionals within a particular profession or industry that is utilized as a way to show off new products and develop networks within that industry. This type of convention usually features numerous exhibitors, which are companies that rent space at the convention to show off products in development. The convention is then attended by representatives of various sales companies, who look for new products to sell or offer customers, as well as private individuals interested in the industry. A trade show convention can be fairly small in scale and only attended by those within the industry, or quite large and attended by mainstream media and consumers.

A trade show is an organized meeting held over the course of several days where members of a certain industry demonstrate their products or services.
A trade show is an organized meeting held over the course of several days where members of a certain industry demonstrate their products or services.

Sometimes called a trade show market or simply a convention, a trade show convention typically provides a means by which exhibitors and attendees can interact and meet. Exhibitors are representatives of companies who come to the trade show to demonstrate and reveal new products or services. A trade show convention is usually the setting for revealing new products, even those products that may not be commercially available for several years. Electronics trade shows, for example, often serve as platforms to show off new technology and hardware that may still be in development.

Allowing the public to interact with mock-ups at trade shows is part of the R&D process, as it enables engineers to see how consumers will interface with products.
Allowing the public to interact with mock-ups at trade shows is part of the R&D process, as it enables engineers to see how consumers will interface with products.

Attendees at a trade show convention are usually representatives of retail or sales businesses who are looking for new products to offer customers. These professional attendees can develop contacts and networks at such conventions, among both exhibitors and other attendees, making such conventions a major event for many industries. Some attendees at a trade show convention can also be consumers or amateur enthusiasts for various products or industries. The number of consumers present at a trade show typically depends on the type of industry being represented.

A trade show convention for the electronics industry, especially consumer electronics such as home entertainment systems and portable devices, is often attended by thousands of consumers and numerous mainstream media outlets. The new products revealed at these shows are often the subjects of numerous website posts and discussions by consumers for months or years before the products are even released commercially. Due to this presence of media and consumers at such events, it has become increasingly important for an exhibitor to make a strong first impression with a new product. This has led to the use of a trade show convention as not only a way to demonstrate new products, but to begin marketing, advertising, and building customer awareness for such products.

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@bluespirit - It is actually not advisable to do this to piggy back onto another's booth. As you can imagine it is actually against trade show rules (or at least the trade shows I have been to). It is understandable as to why you would want to do it, but I would not risk it!

The biggest tip I was given in planning for a trade show is that you need to plan to do something memorable at your booth - you have only an average of ten seconds to impress upon the people walking by your booth to get them to learn more about your product!


My husband started a new company and the trade shows were ridiculously expensive for his industry (it was a farm industry trade show) and ridiculously expensive for a small company.

However, he made lots of contacts and lots of exposure by going to this trade show. So what he ended up doing was going to the trade shows both large and small for a few years and then he stopped and just worked on the contacts he had made from the trade shows.

While the company has not become huge yet, he feels certain that his company would not still be around if he had not done the trade shows.

Now he is thinking of going back to a few trade shows but was thinking about sharing a booth with maybe a larger company that carries his product. Is this advisable? Has anyone done this?


I had just started working for a man whose candle company was really taking off in a major way when he asked me to accompany him to the trade show. I was so excited to have the opportunity to help the company grow.

I knew that it was on the road to success, because we had done so well at local flea markets. The people attending the trade show were equally impressed.

We had scents ranging from kudzu to birthday cake, and the wax was poured into what looked like old-fashioned milk bottles. These were tall and lean, but we also offered short, fat candles in canisters with lids.

People loved both the throwback design and the strong, appealing scents we offered. The trade show helped us make contacts and get our products into many stores.


I am a cooking enthusiast, and I recently got the chance to attend a trade show convention that featured many items for the kitchen, as well as food prepared according to the cookbook sold by the company. It was like a dream for me.

I saw so many beautiful and innovative designs of plates, pots, pans, and so many gadgets I have never even heard of that would be quite useful. I wanted it all, and I signed up to receive the catalog.

I tasted many dishes made using the hard cover, 300 page cookbook. I tried everything from stir fries to decadent chocolate desserts, and each dish was appealing to both the taste buds and the eyes.


Depending on the company you work for, you could get paid very well to work their booth at a trade show. My best friend works for a lady who makes and sells decorative candles, pillows, and other items for the home, and she offered her a generous amount to go do the trade show for her.

In addition to her earnings, she got a free trip to Vegas. The trade show lasted three days, and she had to stand on her feet for hours and inform any visitors to the booth about the products. It was tiring but very rewarding.


My friend and her husband own a party supply store. They just opened it a month before they attended a huge trade show convention in Las Vegas. They already had plenty of items in stock, but since they were new to the business, they wanted to see what else was out there.

While at the convention, my friend learned that she was paying too much for items from her supplier that she could be getting at a much better price elsewhere. She saw many new and interesting items that she would love to sell at her store, and she got contact information so that she could order new inventory.

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