New digital technology allows for construction of a virtual trade show – the term even has its own Wikipedia entry. Even for a massively attended event like the Fresh Summit, much planning for the PMA’s Fresh Summit can be done online.
The technology providing instant communications and high speed answers make it more problematic to wait and unveil new products at a trade show.
A recent story about the future of trade shows - “what tradeshows might look like in 2016” - said this about those who think the existing model will continue to function, with some modifications.
"This scenario looks much like the existing tradeshow model. No matter how spectacular the technology, it cannot replace powerful face-to-face meetings and large-scale, annual gatherings of like-minded individuals that have been the backbone of the tradeshow industry. In this scenario, change will happen gradually, and the fundamental metric is reaching attendance goals in the exhibition halls. The problem with this scenario is that being late to the future means losing muscle in reacting to competitors that are implementing change."
What will produce shows look like in 2016? There may be more Smartphone apps, more digital connections and potentially a tougher market to attract exhibitors and buyers.
We can only hope there will be avocado bags and chocolate-covered strawberries.