The world’s biggest trade shows revealed

Trade Show

CES in Las Vegas. The International Motor Show in Geneva. Modern trade shows are big business – huge events with multimillion-pound budgets and stands the size of football pitches – backed up by a solid exhibition marketing plan, no doubt.

We’ve brought together 7 of the world’s largest trade shows to celebrate this new rock and roll and to inspire you to get ready for your next (or even first) trade show.

CES (Consumer Electronics Show)

What is it? The world’s biggest technology conference.

Set in the desert landscape of Las Vegas, CES is where the year’s biggest tech makes its debut. Expect to see Samsung, Sony and LG all jostling for space with TVs that offer eye-watering picture quality.

CES is owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association, the trade association that represents the $398 billion US consumer tech industry.

CES launched around 50 years ago. Lots has changed since then though.

Where? Las Vegas Convention Centre, Las Vegas, USA

When? Held annually in January

How big? Over 180,000 attendees, 4,400+ exhibitors, 1,000 speakers

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What is it? The largest construction trade show in the US.

Muddy boots, hi-vis jackets and ridiculously powerful tools and diggers take centre stage at one of the world’s biggest construction trade shows.

CONEXPO-CON/AGG represents asphalt, aggregates, concrete, earthmoving and more to connect professionals from every major sector of construction.

Where? Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, USA

When? Every three years

How big? 2,800 exhibitors, 150 education sessions

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MWC Barcelona

What is it? Largest mobile event in the world.

Much better known by its original name of Mobile World Congress, MWC Barcelona is THE event on the smartphone calendar.

Along with the CES, this tech show is so big you’ll see it and its latest phones on the evening news.

Where? Fira Gran Via, Barcelona, Spain

When? Held annually in February

How big? More than 2,400 companies, over 100,000 attendees from over 200 countries

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Geneva International Motor Show

What is it? Where the world’s biggest cars make their debut.

The big one for petrolheads. First held in 1905, the Geneva International Motor Show is a film premiere for the world’s biggest new cars.

The original Range Rover and the Jaguar E-Type are two motoring icons to have made their debut at Geneva over the years.

Today, the show continues to attract the biggest manufacturers as the best way to get headlines for their new cars.

Where? Palexpo, Geneva, Switzerland

When? Held annually in March

How big? More than 600,000 visitors

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What is it? Biggest processing and packaging trade show.

The Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute is a trade organisation that hosts many shows each year, known as PACK EXPOs.

Healthcare Packaging EXPO is a pharmaceutical event that runs annually and coincides with PACK EXPO Las Vegas and PACK EXPO International.

Where? Variety of locations

When? Multiple shows a year

How big? PACK EXPO International – 45,000 attendees, 2,500 exhibitors

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Kolkata Book Fair

What is it? The world’s biggest public book fair.

Kolkata, India, has been a major destination for books and printing since the days of the British Empire. The city is packed with vibrant and well-stocked bookshops, so it’s no surprise the Kolkata Book Fair, first launched in 1976, has grown into the world’s biggest for the general public.

Some 1.9 million people attended in 2017, but this grew to 2.2 million in 2018.

Where? Central Park Mela Ground, SaltLake, Kolkata, India (2019)

When? Held annually in January

How big? 600 stalls and 200 little magazines, 2.2 million people in attendance in 2018

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Pure London

What is it? Britain’s leading fashion trade show.

London is one of the world’s major fashion capitals – home to big-budget shows and iconic designers. Pure London is one of the big events on the calendar.

It’s unique selling point is to house the complete supply chain under one roof. It’s the only place where you can go from checking out fabric samples from global suppliers to looking at ready-to-wear collections.

Where? Olympia London, England

When? Held bi-annually in February and July

How big? 17,000 visitors, 1,300 collections and 160 garment and fabric suppliers from 13 countries

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What is it? Premier ‘marketplace’ event for home and lifestyle products.

NY NOW is an exclusive industry-only premier marketplace for home, lifestyle and handmade products. Top brands and exciting emerging companies showcase their on-trend retail creations across 400 categories. The twice-yearly event attracts attendees from across the USA and over 80 countries.

Where? Jacob K Javits Convention Center, NYC, USA

When? Held bi-annually

How big? 2,500 exhibitors from Home, Lifestyle and Handmade categories, 25,000 buyers representing 17,000 companies

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Get organised for your next trade show with flyers and leaflets, banners and exhibition stands from Solopress.