The annual gathering of retail designers and in-store marketers starts Monday in Las Vegas. I’m in town and will be blogging a recap of the show. Last year, the show was over spring break, during some unseasonably bad weather in Chicago, and attendance was lack-luster. At the time, I speculated that it was also a bit quiet because the show started a month after the much larger EuroShop which takes place every three years in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Obivously, the economy will have a major effect on attendance this year (as it has with almost every trade show). I’ve spoken to many clients who will not be making the trip (many will be missing the show for the first time in years). Once again the show is during Spring Break, and March Madness here in Las Vegas.
Personally, I suspect that many exhibitors and attendees will skip this year, learn the world did not end, and may not come back even
if when the economy does turns back around. I’m really suspicious about the ROI for companies like mine to exhibit at these shows, so in one sense, I won’t be disappointed to see the show become less relevant. On the other hand, I really enjoy the opportunity to network and spend time with my peers in the industry, and it will be shame to lose that. Perhaps it will all get replaced by some flavor of social network? One idea that makes a lot of sense would be to put on these shows every 2-3 years, as is the practice with the big European shows. That would allow enough time to really build up some interest and buzz when the show year does come around. I’m sure that the event companies that put on these shows don’t want to walk-away from the annual revenue, but they really need to consider something dramatic to save their business.