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Trade Shows; Going the way of the Dinosaurs?

In total no less than 200,000 professionals have visited the ISH trade show for installers in Frankfurt in March 2017. Also, more than 250,000 people visited the general construction trade show BAU in Munich this year. It’s safe to say that Germany’s biggest trade shows had nothing to complain about their number of visitors. Looking at the profile of BAU Munich visitors, it’s striking that 80,000 people came to Munich from outside Germany.

In general we see that the bigger international trade shows still manage to attract many visitors from all over Europe. To get more insights in the trade show visits by European professionals we have investigated this topic in two separate researches. We asked 1,200 installers about the topic in the European Installation Monitor and 1,600 architects in the European Architectural Barometer.


Interesting to see at first is how many trade shows the European installer on average is visiting. Especially Belgian and Dutch installers still seem to visit trade shows. On average they visit almost wo per year, while their German colleagues visit only 1.3 per year.

Although German installers on average visit less trade shows than other European installers, their intention to visit at least one trade show per year is high. Nine out of ten German installers will visit a trade show next year, which is the highest percentage among all European installers followed by Dutch (87%) and Polish installers (86%). Least likely to visit trade shows are French and British installers as less than two third plan to visit a trade show next year. In general, there is only a very small group of European installers who will attend more trade shows than they already do.


Although on average the architects that do go to trade shows visit an equal number per year as the installer, the intention to visit at least one trade show among architects is less. Looking separately at the involved countries a noteworthy amount of Spanish architects (43%) will not go to a trade show next year. In other countries the willingness to visit is slightly higher, but still less than among installers.

All in all, trade shows can be an effective moment for manufacturers to stay in contact with installers and architects. Their willingness to actually go and visit a trade show in general is quite high, but we do see that they will only pick one or two trade shows a year. The larger trade shows in Europe seem to be visited by most which makes these the most interesting ones for manufacturers as well. Smaller, more regional tradeshows will have a difficult time attracting more visitors.

Overall, it would seem that in the construction industry trade shows are still relevant. One of the reasons for this has to do with the conservative nature of the construction industry. However, there is a big difference between big, international tradeshows and smaller regional ones. The latter will have a hard time attracting more visitors and in some countries you can already see the decline setting in.

In case of any questions about one of our researches, such as the European Installation Monitor and the European Architectural Barometer, feel free to contact me @