World of Concrete, PGA, OFFPRICE and Other Top Trade Shows Propel Industry Forward in 2022
Multiple in-person business-to-business (B2B) events produced by members of the Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance (ECA) are ushering in 2022 with optimism for the industry’s continued comeback.
The ECA, a coalition of professional, industry and labor organizations, comprises the unified voice of the face-to-face business events industry and is a driving force behind the safe reopening of B2B events.
While events are seeing scattered cancellations from exhibitors and attendees due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the latest Omicron variant, thousands of businesses remain committed to attending trade shows and other events in 2022, according to the ECA.
The alliance pointed to professional events as a crucial resource for small businesses to help them rebound and recover from the impacts of the pandemic, as they rely on trade shows as a primary source for the networking and deal-making that moves their business forward.
According to the ECA, from June through October 2021, more than 1 million people—exhibitors, small and large business owners, and other attendees—flocked to hundreds of events held in dozens of major cities across the U.S., supporting this multi-billion-dollar industry that is vital to the existence of small and mid-sized businesses and helps fuel the U.S. economy.
This year kicked off with a strong showing at Emerald’s Surf Expo, held Jan. 5-7 at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in Orlando, Fla., with hundreds of small and mid-sized businesses gathering to safely meet with buyers, press and other industry professionals.
Several other major shows have taken place or will be held over the next few months and beyond, with health and safety top-of-mind and a commitment to drive the events industry forward while supporting businesses and the overall economy.
Each of these events, produced by ECA member companies including Informa Markets, Reed Exhibitions (RX), Tarsus Group, Emerald and Material Handling Industry (MHI), is expected to generate growth for their respective industries and millions of dollars in economic impact for their host cities.
Informa Markets brought World of Concrete back to the Las Vegas Convention Center Jan. 18-20 with a highly successful showing. The event drew 40,000 attendees and 1,100 exhibiting suppliers to the show floor, twice the show’s size in June 2021 and close to pre-pandemic levels. The June show was one of the first B2B in-person events to successfully stage last year, helping jumpstart business events for the first time since the pandemic began and serving as a bellwether for the industry.
“With success and safety at the heart of our planning, we are thrilled to be delivering the in-person event format in 2022,” said Charlie McCurdy, president and CEO of Informa Markets. “We [kicked] off with World of Concrete, and we’re moving forward with many others in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere, based on our communities’ enduring belief in the value of the platforms we provide and the need to reconnect and recover together.”
McCurdy added that the events industry as a whole has a big responsibility.
“[The events industry] plays an important role in stimulating the vitality of the global industries we serve and the regional economies that host our events,” he said. “Trade shows traditionally generate $325 billion in business sales annually for a wide variety of industries, and World of Concrete—one of our 400 market-defining events around the world—delivered an economic impact of an estimated $109 million to Las Vegas in January 2020.”
RX’s PGA Show began Jan. 25 and runs through Jan. 28 at the OCCC, with roughly 600 brands on the show floor and hundreds of registered buyers and media. It’s the first time the show has been held since the pandemic began.
According to Marc Simon, vice president of PGA Golf Exhibitions, PGA professionals and golf buyers have expressed a pent-up demand for sourcing merchandise and services and miss the in-person experience with products and company leadership at the PGA Show,
“There is a strong desire to return to peer networking and solutions-based programming to leverage the rising consumer interest in the sport and navigate the related challenges the golf industry faces,” he said. “The 2022 PGA Show looks different from previous events but is a welcome return to connecting in-person with peers and industry leaders and can be a bridge to help our industry adapt and thrive as we move forward.”
Meanwhile, Ken Kosak, PGA Show general manager, COO of Belfair in Bluffton, S.C., and PGA Show attendee underscored the importance of the event to the organization’s annual business plan.
“The ability to meet in an organized setting and see firsthand the latest trends in the industry is invaluable to me in managing our club,” he said. “Much of our industry is driven by relationship-building and networking, and to be able to see longtime friends, colleagues and business partners in person is incredibly exciting.”
Kosak added that he has tremendous confidence in PGA leadership hosting the PGA Show in an environment where everyone feels comfortable attending.
Douglas Emslie, CEO of Tarsus Group, noted how vital the OFFPRICE Show is to the retail industry this year more than ever due to ongoing supply chain disruptions.
“The OFFPRICE Show brings the U.S. retail industry together—it’s where retailers come to source in-stock inventory that can ship quickly and to meet all the important vendors under one roof,” he said. “Given the disruption that supply chains have experienced over the past two years, shows like this are more critical than ever, especially for small and medium-size businesses.”
Emslie added that while virtual events were a useful solution for some industries at the height of the pandemic, for many industries, especially retail, nothing can replace the value of a live event and the opportunity to see products in-person, meet new contacts and write orders on the showfloor.
“Our customers appreciate the opportunity to close business in a safe and secure environment,” he said. “It would take buyers weeks and multiple trips to meet with the same number of vendors outside of a show.”
Following its successful Surf Expo this month, Emerald’s roster of upcoming events includes the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, set for Feb. 8-10 at the OCCC.
Like other ECA members, Emerald is committed and excited to lead the way in bringing in-person events back to its customers in a safe and productive way, according to Hervé Sedky, president and CEO of Emerald.
“Attendee presence at Emerald’s recent events has been driven by the need to meet rising consumer demand, which has resulted in extensive order writing and new business generation for our exhibitors, especially small and mid-size businesses that are heavily reliant on trade shows to drive their business,” he said. “This critical business function, coupled with the positive feedback from our customers, reinforces the relevance and sustainable value of our B2B in-person events.”
Sedky added that throughout the reopening process, Emerald has been vigilant about the health and safety of all who attend its events and remains committed to providing the safest environment possible for its trade shows and conferences.
With more than 850 exhibitors in more than 400,000 square feet of exhibit space, MODEX 2022 will provide in-person, in-action solutions, insights and four keynote speakers, including Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Shaquille O'Neal.
Coupled with 172 show floor sessions, MODEX 2022 aims to offer practical solutions to complex problems and the education needed for industry innovation.
“MHI is committed to the global supply chain industry and is eagerly moving forward with producing a safe, dynamic and productive exhibition this March in Atlanta,” said Daniel McKinnon, executive vice president, exhibitions for MHI. “Our association, community and affiliated organizations need to re-engage in order to power this very critical industry forward. We cannot and will not turn back.”
Photo: Surf Expo, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.