In a world (and mobility industry) where everything seems to be going digital, professionals still prefer an analog approach to meeting business partners— and they’re going to in-person trade events looking to connect. By understanding the factors behind the uptick in live-event attendance and the opportunities that these gatherings provide, OEMs and suppliers can make strategic exhibiting decisions and achieve their business goals more efficiently. Here are a few reasons why securing a booth will likely deliver more bang for your buck in 2024.
Recent research from Freeman, the world’s largest event marketing firm, shows that 2023 trade events are experiencing record-breaking attendance. More people are going to shows now than before the COVID-19 pandemic, with average participation 32% higher than 2019 levels. In the mobility industry, the shift toward software-defined vehicles and other major trends are causing engineers and business leaders to seek out new technology, products and partners — and there’s no better place to see the latest solutions up close than a trade event.
The labor market has changed significantly in the last few years and will continue to evolve, as millennials (the generation making up the largest percentage of the current workforce) continue to take on more leadership roles, Gen Zer's moves their careers forward and Gen X (the second-largest sector of the workforce) begins to retire. Even with these shifting demographics, seeing products and solutions is still the No. 1 reason for attending a live event, but younger generations have different preferences that exhibiting companies should consider. Focusing on enriching experiences, hands-on learning, sustainability and the desire to “see under the hood” of new solutions can lead to increased booth traffic from Gen Z and millennial audiences.
Mobility industry events can provide solutions to OEM and supplier companies’ labor challenges, as well as valuable leads. Many professionals attend in-person shows to network and discover opportunities for career advancement, and companies with a presence at high-profile events stand out from other organizations vying for the same engineering talent. If hiring is a goal, look for events that offer career fairs as an additional benefit for exhibitors and sponsors.
Inflationary concerns aren’t deterring companies from exhibiting at live events — in fact, Freeman’s 2023 Q2 report notes that 80% of exhibitors plan to participate in the same or more events in the coming year, and over 30% are expanding their exhibiting budgets. The same holds true for sponsorships, with more than half of sponsoring companies planning to repeat their efforts and 18% intent on purchasing more sponsorship opportunities. With so many companies seeing the value and ROI that live events provide, it’s important for OEMs and suppliers to consider that their competitors will likely have a presence at key mobility gatherings in 2024 — and make exhibiting part of their own lead-generation strategies.