Half of all tradeshow attendees have the final say in the purchasing decisions for the companies or associations, according to the latest study released by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).
Results of a survey of more than 1,000 industry professionals show that 49 percent of all attendees have that final say, while 94 percent maintain some net buying influence. Broken down by job title, 46 percent of attendees serve in executive or upper management positions at their companies.
The preponderance of management on the attendee side differs from the vendor side though. The majority (38 percent) of exhibitor attendees surveyed were in sales or marketing management, while those in top-level management accounted for one-fifth of all exhibitor attendees.
Small business was the driver of the industry on both sides, according to the CEIR report.
Almost one-half of tradeshow attendees worked for small businesses (less than 100 employees), while close to two-thirds of exhibitors came from companies of that size.
Conversely, employees of organizations with more than 500 employees accounted for 18 percent of tradeshow attendance, while just 13 percent of exhibitors represented large corporations.
Tradeshow attendance typically crosses multiple industry sectors, the study says. Attendees reported visiting shows in an average of 3.2 industry sectors over the past two years, while exhibitors participated in an average of 2.2 sectors.
Over that time, consumer goods and retail shows were the most commonly visited by both attendees (46 percent) and exhibitors (27 percent), with business services and education also seeing frequent attendance on both sides.
Financial, legal and real estate events were the least commonly attended, attracting just 12 percent of attendees and 6 percent of exhibitors.