Post-Show Recap: AXPONA 2024 Immerses Audiophiles in Largest Show Yet

June 12, 2024

Touted as the largest annual gathering for high-performance audio enthusiasts, music lovers, audio dealers, manufacturers and distributors in North America, AXPONA offers three jam-packed days of immersive, high-fidelity listening experiences, high-end audio equipment and technology, seminars, live music, and the very latest consumer audio products in the industry.

Who, When & Where: AXPONA (Audio Expo North America), April 12-14, 2024, Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center in Schaumburg, Ill. 

Show Size: 10,391 attendees from 42 states and 31 countries, 600 exhibitors (global manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and brands) from more than 50 countries across 11,360 square feet – a 14% increase compared to 2023 and its biggest show yet.


Looking Back: In 2023, the show drew 9,115 attendees and 525 exhibitors spanning 9,750 square feet — a 20% increase compared to 2022.  

Best features: Along with myriad exhibits, educational seminars with industry experts and demonstrations, the event is known for its dedicated high-fidelity listening rooms (located in ballrooms and converted hotel guest rooms on 12 floors) that allow attendees to experience the latest and greatest in high-end consumer audio products. This year, the event featured 202 rooms, up from 200 in 2023. Additionally, the bustling Ear Gear Experience encompassed everything needed for personal audio, from headphones and electronics to accessories and cables, which the Record Fair showcased a vast array of turntables, cables, accessories, racks, stands, tonearms, cartridges, and new and vintage Vinyl. 

Beyond the show floor: Nightly live concerts at AXPONA are always a big hit with attendees. On Friday night, AXPONA welcomed Bobby Broom to a packed and energetic crowd, and Saturday night’s concert featured singing and songwriting duo The Secret Sisters performing for a full house.


What they are saying: “The audience growth we experienced at AXPONA 2024 was driven by thousands of first-time visitors to the show, many traveling great distances to attend. We recognize the importance of building awareness of this hobby and industry to music lovers of all ages and backgrounds, so this year we worked on multiple programs to support this mission,” said Liz Smith, event director of AXPONA, which is owned by JD Events. “This year our Gen Z pass doubled. It was exciting to see so many attendees ages 15-26 discovering the world of high-performance audio.”

Looking ahead: AXPONA will return to the Renaissance Schaumburg April 11-13, 2025.

In an exclusive interview, we had a chance to sit down with Smith to get an inside look into the history and growth of AXPONA as it evolves into a hybrid B2C/B2B event.

When and why did JD Events launch AXPONA, and what’s its mission?

AXPONA was launched in 2010 in Jacksonville, Fla. At that time, the U.S. high-end audio market was served by several small local shows throughout the U.S. The original owner moved the show to the Chicago area in 2013, and JD Events acquired AXPONA following that 2013 event and produced its first edition in April 2014, driven by JD Events’ vision to build the premier large-scale audio show in North America. 


AXPONA brings together audio enthusiasts, music lovers, manufacturers, dealers, distributors, and audio industry press from over 50 countries who share a passion for high-performance audio products, equipment and gear. 

Since you’ve been running the event, how has it grown and developed, and what separates it from the competition?

AXPONA has experienced exponential growth since 2014. Attendance, exhibitors, and revenues have more than quadrupled over these ten years despite not holding shows in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. In 2014, there were three or four larger and longer-running shows in the U.S. Fast forward to 2024, AXPONA is now the undisputed largest and most attended audio show in North America, having become the critical event for the audio industry to launch products, interact with consumers and media, and engage in B2B networking. We have worked hard to grow and diversify the audience, attract more women and a much younger demographic, as well as to make AXPONA the global meeting place for industry trade professionals.

What kinds of strategies has your team used to cultivate AXPONA’s attendance and exhibitor participation?


Since we started producing this event, one of the main goals was to attract new people to this hobby and raise awareness of high-performance audio among the general public. We allocate most of our marketing budget towards reaching out to music lovers and bringing new customers to our exhibitors. As a small and nimble team, we can test and adjust marketing programs every year, such as our university outreach, poster campaigns, and partnering with influencers. Each year, exhibitors and the media observe a more diverse audience, with an increased number of women, families, and music fans in their 20s and 30s attending the event. In addition, we facilitate networking events and create areas for trade professionals to do business and meet new partners. AXPONA has evolved from what was once a pure enthusiast consumer event into what is now a unique and thriving consumer/trade hybrid event model.

Can you elaborate on what you mean by a hybrid event model?

At the show, dealers, distributors, and manufacturers take advantage of AXPONA as an opportunity to meet with partners, make new business connections, launch products, and meet with the press. We offer a trade pass so members of the industry can be identified by a trade badge with their name and company, and the pass grants access to our “Audio Industry Welcome Mixer.” We also give an allotment of free trade passes to our exhibitors so they can invite their partners to come to the show for free. 


How do you keep the event fresh and engaging for buyers and sellers?

We organize two live evening concerts every year and invite special industry expert guests for our seminar programming. In 2024, we had custom “audio enthusiast” badge ribbons that were loved by our attendees and exhibitors, such as “analog lover,” “I heart hi-fi,” and “crate digger.” We are fortunate that the show focuses on experiencing high-fidelity systems in our exhibitor's listening rooms, so we always aim to highlight product debuts and the exciting sound experiences that our exhibitors create in their rooms.

Do you have any new and exciting plans for next year’s AXPONA that you can share?

We’re still in the early stages of planning for 2025, however, plans include expanding our Ear Gear Experience (headphone exhibits) to be bigger than ever, a larger Record Fair, and a feature area for DIY Audio.


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