Exhibitions and Trade Fairs in UK

Exhibitions and trade fairs is the second highest segment of the events industry in the UK. It accounts for 26% of the revenue generated by the entire industry (£42.3 billion). The sector supports 148,500 jobs which accounts for 0.5% of the total national workforce.

Every year, about 265,000 companies from the manufacturing, construction, service and even education industries participate in exhibitions and trade fairs held around the country. Since 81% of attendees to these events have buying authority, the recurring revenues generated during trade fairs and exhibitions is believed to go up as high as 300 billion pound annually, and a large chunk of them are for foreign markets. Some of these events have become huge international affairs drawing thousands of visitors annually.

Interestingly, three of the world's eleven top grossing exhibition organisers hail from UK - Reed Exhibitions (1), United Business Media (3) and Informa (11).

This probably explains why UK attracts over 13 million visitors to trade fairs and exhibitions annually. Small and medium-sized businesses and enterprises are aggressively participating in such events as they provide a cost-effective platform to introduce their products and services to targeted audiences.

Some of the most popular exhibitions in the country include:

  • IPEX (National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham)

    IPEX is the oldest and longest running exhibition for the print industry in the world. Held annually in recent years in NEC, Birmingham, IPEX attracts over 400 international exhibitors and 20,000 buyers.

  • Pure London (Olympia Exhibition Centre, London)

    Pure London is UK's leading fashion trade fair. The 20-year-old, bi-annual event draws trade visitors from the apparel industry from all across the globe.

  • GLEE (National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham)

    Glee is UK's - and arguably, the world's - premier garden and leisure exhibition. Over 500 international and domestic wholesalers of garden supplies converge at GLEE annually to market their latest wares to thousands of trade visitors.

  • Advanced Engineering 2017/Connected Manufacturing Show (National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham)

    The annual Advanced Engineering fair is the largest gathering of advanced engineering professionals in Europe. It draws attendees from a wide variety of industries such as robotics, 3D printing and automation, to learn about the latest technology and best practices of their respective fields. This year, the event saw over 700 exhibitors parading in excess of 1,000 cutting-edge products. Hundreds of engineers also participated in more than 200 conference sessions conducted by notable speakers.

  • Spring Fair (National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham)

    Sure, this is a trade show about home and gift items. However, Spring Fair is also one of, if not the biggest, trade show in Europe. It's hard to understand the appeal of the event until you visit. The number of exhibitors and visitors at the show will blow you away!

  • Video Recording and Photography

    The prevalence of videos and cameras in the digital age sometimes makes us forget that professional videographers and photographers cost money - and they're worth every penny (average £2,700), especially for organisations which intend to promote their events to the press or memorialise them on the social media.

  • On-Site Hires

    Sure, hiring temporary waiters or sales assistants for a few hours or a day won't amount to much. However, the numbers can begin to add up once an emcee, exhibition models or entertainers are brought into the picture. Some companies even spend tens of thousands of pounds hiring national-level celebrities to make an appearance at their event. However, as a whole, the industry spends about £5,400 on onsite hires.

    Naturally, events attract other expenditures such as security and promotional material. However, the above seven are the primary cost-generators of events.