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Trade shows and other events have been shown to be effective across all the stages of the buyer’s journey, with B2B demand generation marketers saying that in-person events are their best performing top of the funnel tactic. So, how big is the trade show market? PwC has some answers in its latest Global Entertainment & Media Outlook.

As part of its analysis, PwC examined the broader B2B market in the US, which is made up of the following areas: Business Information; Directory Advertising; Trade Shows; Professional Books; and Trade Magazines.

Of those, the trade show market has one of the fastest growth rates, with a projected compound annual growth rate of 4.3% from 2018 through 2023.

This year, PwC estimates B2B trade shows to be a $15.7 billion market in the US, with that figure growing to $18.5 billion in 2023. This puts the US share of the global B2B trade show market at just under half (46%) of the global total ($34.4 billion) this year, a percentage that will remain roughly constant through 2023, when the global market is expected to reach $40.1 billion.

Other key points from PwC’s analysis:

  • Trade shows are the second-largest and fastest-growing source of B2B revenue in the USA.
  • The US has the largest aggregate exhibition space in the world, at 6.85 million square meters (73.7 million square feet).
  • Of the 30 largest trade show companies in the world, only one – Emerald Expositions – is a US company. European companies control the industry on a global basis.

B2B Business Information Market Also Growing

B2B business information revenues are predicted to rise from 2019’s estimated $60.7 billion to 2023’s forecast $70.8 billion, with a projected compound annual growth rate of 4.0% from 2018 through 2023.

The business information segment is comprised of three categories: Financial, Marketing, and Industry. While financial business information – provided by companies such as Bloomberg, Dow Jones and Experian – is a larger market than both marketing and industry information, industry information sales are expected to grow faster (CAGR of 5.0%) than financial information sales (CAGR of 4.2%).

That leaves marketing information, which is both the smallest category of business information and the slowest-growing. PwC forecasts B2B marketing information revenues to increase by 2.4% annually from 2018 through 2023, in so doing growing from $15.2 billion this year to $17.1 billion at the end of the forecast period.

PwC also notes that “business information tends to withstand weak growth. This is because it is often business-critical and has become embedded into workflows.” So even if a downturn happens, this market may prove to be more resilient than others in the B2B space.

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