Will the Tradeshow Industry Survive in 2023

Learn more about the future of trade shows post-covid with Merchology

The COVID-19 pandemic transformed nearly every part of our lives, from work and family responsibilities to fun and recreation. As safety regulations shut down businesses, many employees transitioned from in-office to remote work. In-person activities, like movies and concerts, also came to an abrupt halt. Tradeshows and expos, which gather hundreds or thousands of people, similarly had to be canceled, leaving a great deal of uncertainty about the future of the industry. Now in 2023, tradeshows are making a comeback in a big way, with the industry expected to fully recover in 2023. Tradeshows may not, however, look exactly the same as pre-2020.

This article will explore how the tradeshows that you're involved in can best survive this transition. It will also discuss how Merchology can help you adjust to these changes by getting your custom promotional products directly to your potential clients and customers.

COVID and the Shift to Virtual Events in 2020

After the initial shutdown of events, businesses found ways to continue tradeshows and expos in a virtual setting. Tradeshow publication Exhibitor gives an overview of the shifts that happened in 2020 and 2021. With social distancing preventing face-to-face interaction, tradeshows embraced technology to keep their events alive. Registration, workshops, networking, and even the tradeshow floor all went virtual. And in light of Zoom fatigue, the emphasis shifted from constant meetings and discussions to offering meaningful and helpful content.

In-person events are now slowly returning, but many of these virtual components are here to stay.

Hybrid Industry Events Going Forward

One of the biggest trends for tradeshows in 2023 is the hybrid format. That is, tradeshows will be held in person, but there will be plenty of options for virtual participation. This is the route that many of the country’s largest trade shows are taking with their events this year. According to tradeshow industry leaders, hybridizing events is a “natural evolution.” It allows for convenient, asynchronous participation and also makes events more sustainable, because of the reduction of air travel.

In order to include streaming and pre-recorded options for events, tradeshows and conventions will have to make sure they have adequate equipment, internet, and software to create a seamless, high-quality experience for virtual participants.

Tradeshow Giveaway Items

Custom promotional products are a necessity for any tradeshow booth or corporate event. You want potential clients to remember your company long after the event is over, and branded corporate gifts are the perfect way to stay on their minds. Merchology offers a wide variety of custom logo giveaways from trusted brands. These are high-quality products that recipients will use and appreciate.

But with more and more participants attending events virtually in 2023, how can you get your tradeshow giveaway items into their hands?

Thankfully, Merchology has several services to make it easy to give logo-branded merch to participants at hybrid events:

  • Our MerchBox service offers fun, curated boxes of custom gifts that can be shipped directly to participants’ homes! Options range from a box of eco-friendly products to season-themed selections like the Cozy Up MerchBox, to industry-themed boxes like our engagement/wedding box.

  •  Direct Drop-shipping allows you to have any of your Merchology orders shipped directly to recipients. For instance, if you want to send all virtual attendees a customized  S'ip by S'well Bottle 15 oz, you simply give us your logo and the list of addresses, and we take care of the rest! 
  • With the Group Order Tool, you can make sure event attendees get the branded corporate gifts they want! You simply choose the products you want to offer, and Merchology supplies you with an order link to send out to attendees. Participants can use the Group Order Tool to select their size (if applicable) and their product, color, and style preferences. They also submit the address to that they want their merch mailed out to. 

Start Small–but plan for larger events in future

While 2023 is a regrowth year for tradeshows, the industry still hasn’t fully recovered. Therefore, you should plan for your upcoming event to still be smaller than pre-COVID. According to the event industry publication BizBash, businesses can balance the smaller size of events by making the scope of their event more specific and by reaching new audience members through virtual options. It’s more important to get the right audience than a large audience, and smaller, more tailored events can lead to a higher percentage of quality leads.

In short, you take this year to optimize the quality and personalization of your events, and then scale up as business travel increases in 2023 and 2024.

Learn More about Tradeshow/Expo Planning!

Contact Us Today!

Trade shows, business conferences, and industry expos are back, so it’s time to stock up on your custom logo giveaways. Let us help your team plan for their next tradeshow event with some amazing branded corporate gifts!