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How popular are trade shows among European Electrical Installers?

​Despite the rising influence of new media and social media, personal contact remains of vital importance in the construction and installation market. When comparing installers’ usage of different varieties of media, for instance, personal media remains at a top position, as is shown in the results of the Q1 2019 European Electrical Installation Monitor, which focuses on the media orientation and consumption of electrical installers in seven European countries.

When looking at the popularity of different forms of personal media, advice from the wholesaler is found most important by installers from almost all countries, as well as visits from a representative of the manufacturers of electrical installation products. A classic form of personal media channels, the trade show, seems to be under pressure though.

Less time

The pressure on trade shows is not a new trend. Around the crisis years, trade shows were already having trouble bringing enough manufacturers and installers together. Some manufacturers found the costs too high for the benefits, especially compared to other and newer ways of communicating novelties to the installers. After the crisis, as the economy got stronger, the number of vacancies rose so high that many installation companies simply could not afford missing personnel for a few days to visit trade shows.

Trends per country

Focusing on installers from seven European countries, our research shows that the popularity of visiting trade shows differs very much per country. In the Netherlands, trade shows are still quite popular, as 88% of the installers mention to visit tradeshows regularly. On average, they visit 1.7 tradeshows per year. Meanwhile, France is at the bottom, with only 20% of the installers visiting trade shows. The French installers that do attend trade shows also visit 1.7 of these events on average per year. Trade shows also seem to be less popular in the UK, where 42% of the installers visit them, but in the rest of the countries the average lies around 70%, which seems not so bad.

Usage of personal media: European electrical installers visiting trade shows
Usage of personal media: European electrical installers visiting trade shows

What is more important for the future of the trade show, however, is not so much the status quo of popularity, but the trends of that popularity in different countries. When comparing the results of 2019 with the results from a similarly themed European Electrical Installation Monitor from 2017, these trends become apparent. It seems that the popularity of trade shows among installers in the Netherlands and the UK has risen a bit, and in Belgium it has remained the same since 2017. In the rest of the countries, a significant drop is seen in the amounts of installers visiting trade shows. When looking at these trends, France seems to be the most extreme. In 2017, roughly half of the French installers mentioned to visit trade shows, whereas in 2019, as was mentioned before, only 20% still report to do so.

Impact popularity trade shows on marketing strategy

Overall, these figures show a negative trend. If this overall trend persists, however, the impact will not only be felt by the trade shows themselves, but also by manufacturers and suppliers that use trade shows as main events to launch new products and novelty concepts. If so, their future marketing strategies will have to be adapted accordingly. All the more reason for manufacturers to stay vigilant and gather as much information of the trends in their respective markets as possible. For more detailed and country-specific information on the usage of personal media specifically, and media orientation and consumption of electrical installers in seven European countries in general, we refer you to the Q1 2019 European Electrical Installation Monitor.