Exhibitions are a major revenue earning source for all stakeholders involved. Exhibitions play a vital role in the marketing mix. Return of investment is high for participants. Europe and America are glaring examples of what exhibitions can do for generating revenues. Asia is moving towards that direction with new exhibitions emerging for niche industry sectors to give better focus.

This brings in a big change in trade as the companies are able to work towards new technology development depending on the customer needs which could be displayed in the exhibitions. The exhibition industry in India is growing steadily year on year. Every year around 1000 specialized trade exhibitions are organised across a wide spectrum of topics. Exhibitions promote national and international trade and lift up the respective industries they serve. Exhibitions are particularly effective because they enable direct interchange between the buyer and seller. “Exhibitions offer more than just a platform for marketing your business. It holds the true power to Connect. Especially in this era, trade fairs are increasingly connecting the digital and the real world, making way for exchange of ideas, opportunities and trust that long-term businesses are based on”, says Raj Manek, Executive Director, Messe Frankfurt Asia.

According to Bhupinder Singh, CEO, Messe Muenchen India, “Exhibitions serve as a good reflection for the state of any industry. Bringing the best technologies and minds from across the world; trade fairs facilitate business discussions in a most economical and effective way. A lot more can be achieved within 3-4 days of trade fairs by bringing the industry; policy makers; academia; research under one roof and engage these discussion to take any industry forward!”


The Indian exhibition industry

According to Yogesh Mudras, Managing Director, UBM India; “India remains a market of great potential. Globally, the size of Exhibitions industry is USD 109 billion with over 31,000 major trade shows & exhibitions taking place every year. The Indian exhibition market has witnessed a significant change over the last 15 years and it is currently one of the fastest growing exhibitions markets clocking a growth rate of 12% per annum.” Raj Manek feels that there is a lot more growth to come. Authorities are understanding the role our industry plays not just in fostering trade but as a catalyst to economic development impacting jobs, skill exchange, investments and industry growth.

Balasubramanian Pillai, COO BIEC states “Several international exhibitions are entering Indian shores and many new indigenous ones are also being launched making their mark on the exhibition industry. Exhibitions are also being organized in niche areas which were untouched earlier. In view of the economic benefits that exhibitions bring for various industries and the country, venue owners as well as governments are investing in upgrading infrastructure. Besides this, mergers and acquisitions are also enabling the growth of the industry.”

However, Gaurav Juneja, MD, MEX Exhibitions feels that issues like lack of world-class infrastructure, absence of public-private partnership projects, complex processes & procedures, dearth of trained professionals, are issues that are needed to be tackled strategically. He further adds that while many international exhibition companies have been making considerable business in India, at the same time, quite a few Indian exhibition companies have shown their muscles by successfully organising exhibitions outside India in places like Thailand, Singapore, Dubai, Africa.

Ravinder Sethi, Managing Director at RE Rogers feels that the bubble is yet to burst . “Today , I can safely predict the coming few years will see a massive surge in our industry. The industry is shaping at a very healthy pace. With new venues and increased capacities of existing ones , we’ll see more of the global mega brands in India . You can confirm this from the German messes and even some UK PLCs,” he adds.

The Upcoming Trends

The exhibitions are a reflection of the industries. “To add value to our events, we need to engage the attendees with rich and meaningful experiences that are a combination of exhibition, insightful conferences and awards, driven by technology” says Yogesh.

Bala further adds that Big data, digital cloud-based technology, 5G network, deployment of audio-visual technology, sensor integration and wearable technology, etc. are some of the emerging trends that we are seeing in exhibition industry. “With multinational exhibition organisers increasing their commitments in India evolution of excellence in exhibitions is continuously happening. Industry standards and benchmarks are getting higher and I can see this specially also in the exhibition logistics industry domain where IELA is contributing through its Security, Occupational Health & Safety and Sustainability Guidelines for it’s members,” shares Vicki Bedi, Chairman, IELA.

Changes in marketing approaches and the use of advanced-technology options have significantly increased the complexity of doing business today.

Sonia Prashar, MD, NürnbergMesse India feels that more strategic, marketing-centric and technologically-sophisticated approach will be needed for organisers to define and understand the opportunities and risks. “Social media marketing as a trend is here to stay. One can already see a profound effect on the exhibition industry and it will be one of the many technologies that will drive marketing and business going forward. Shows today are including social media sites on a pre-show and post-show basis. The growth of social media communities enables the organizers to be in constant touch with active “members” on a year-round basis. New technologies and tools for capturing data are constantly emerging. Companies are now learning to interpret the data and turn it into action steps as part of its total business operation and marketing plan. One can also see the growth in communication and data storage technologies. Such initiatives encourage the elimination of “paper” by making digital files easily available on “devices.” This is a significant advantage in cost savings for show organizers (i.e. the digital Exhibitor Manual). Wireless apps also help reduce on-site paper usage and reduce a show’s carbon footprint,” she asserts.

Excellence in Exhibitions

Exhibitions are a complex activity involving processes and jobs on multiple layers and among diverse touch-points. It is very challenging to achieve excellence in this ever evolving arena.

Manish Gandhi, COO, ABEC Exhibitions says, “Clear objectives, focused team effort and a calculated communication strategy is what I trust are the real secret behind hosting successful exhibitions in India.


Although there is a huge checklist of important things to be considered while you set off to create a mega expo the above three cohesively brings together the essential fundamentals that cannot go for a miss.

Arguably one of the most important aspects of organizing an exhibition is Post Event Evaluation, which often gets overlooked in the initial planning stages. This assessment step helps to determine the success of an event and also learn from areas that could be improved the next time over. Post Event Evaluation should be included as a clear objective in the planning stage itself. The metrics like visitor feedback, new business leads generated, direct sales schedule and visitor analysis and social media interactions etc. are necessary parameters for the valuation.”

Organisers of India International Mega Trade Fair feels that Exhibitions should have the participation of many Countries & States to display more & more unique products and give a special dimension to the Exhibition. This leads to overall trade promotion & business development. Yogesh Mudras states that with global exposure, professionalism and experience our industry has an edge over others, added to new technology enhancements and continuous innovations. At the same time, we also duly cater to the grassroots level of Tier 1 and Tier 2 towns. “It needs to have a pulse on the domains that have a lot of potential, including sunrise ones. For instance, at UBM India, we operate within the realms of 15 industries in India with a major focus on pharma, travel & renewable energy industry, jewellery and security, providing high quality events through regional focus, closely collaborating when brands extend globally and giving our exhibitors and participants a rich and global experience. The focus of the Exhibitons industry needs to transform from merely being an industry player to a community and nation builder – roles that we need to take very seriously. The industry should actively encourage and associate together with key stake holders from the Central and State governments to advocate Exhibitions as a very important face to face platform where the entire industry connects under one roof, witnesses latest innovations and technology and have torchbearers of the industry provide insights into the potential and challenges of the domain. The Indian government has many initiatives such as Make in India, Skill India, Start Up India, e-Biz Mission Mode Project and Invest India which we actively promote through our exhibitions, thereby enhancing India’s image as a manufacturing hub.

To add value to our events, we need to engage the attendees with rich and meaningful experiences that are a combination of exhibition, insightful conferences and awards, driven by technology. Some of the path breaking tech initiatives we have used in the past are, Supplier Finder, online TV channel, Tech Walls, Live Streaming, Mobile Apps, Matchmaking for pre-fixed meetings.”

As per BIEC, Excellence in exhibitions can be achieved through:
Customer delight.
Quality services.
World-class infrastructure.
Stakeholder education.
Qualified and experienced workforce.
Technology driven approach.
Bringing the right mix of visitors.
Return on investments.

What Participants Want
According to a white-paper released by Exhibition Showcase, which incorporates interviews of over 500 participants in various trade shows, 84% of its respondents participate in exhibitions regularly, majority of which were MSME’s. 55% of these exhibitors allocate between 10% – 40% of their annual marketing budgets into exhibitions. When asked about their primary objective for participation, 46% of them said that they participate for brand promotion, 18% participate to meet old or existing clients, 10% said that their primary motivation is to get new contacts, 9% for selling their products, 2% participate for R&D, and 15% participate because their primary goal is to showcase their new products and offerings. As a feedback to the organiser, 12% suggested that they would like to see more trade visitors, 26% of the exhibitors feel that the organiser should do better promotion of the show, 5% of exhibitors want greater International participation, 15% say that the organiser should consider more clear,section wise or structured floor-plan layout and 34% want that the organiser should pay better attention to ‘Basic Operations’ (availability of clean washrooms, drinking water, hygiene and booth cleaning, security, good food).


At Exhibition Excellence Awards, excellence in exhibitions is acknowledged and duly recognised. Never before in history, were the champions of Indian exhibition industry honoured for their contribution. Being held annually since 2016, the Exhibition Excellence Awards, brought to you by Exhibition Showcase, are being supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of MSME, Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, NSIC, ICPB and leading national and international trade associations. KPMG has been appointed as the Process Advisor and an expert panel of jury from diverse backgrounds, has been set up. Organised with a whole and sole motive to promote the Indian exhibition industry, the Exhibition Excellence Awards have today transpired into a mega initiative for the industry.

Let us go through some interesting facts about the winners at EEA 2019, the champions of Indian exhibition industry:

DIDAC INDIA – 2018 won the Title – The Unique Show. 250+ Exhibiting Companies, 1800+ products, services & solutions showcased, 90% Exhibitor Retention, 13000+ Visitors, Indian Visitors from 29 States & 5 Union Territories, International Visitors & Buyers from 32 Countries, 25+ Conference Sessions, 150+ Speakers, 30 Workshop Sessions.

BAUMA CON EXPO – 2018 bagged the title, The Leading Show – Building, Construction, 700 exhibitors from 26 countries, 39,173 participants (increase by 20 percent), 195,000 square metres of exhibition space (increase by 30 percent) Newly introduced buyer-seller program For the first time, bauma CONEXPO INDIA featured a Buyer Seller Forum, giving visitors the additional chance to network with potential business partners. The initiative proved to be a success and brought together technology providers and buyers in 3,023 meetings.

PACKPLUS – 2018 grabbed The Leading Show – Printing, Packaging title. The total packaging, processing & supply chain event, held from 25-28 July 2018 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, recorded huge success with over 400 exhibiting companies and a footfall of more than 20,00 visitors.

GARTEX INDIA – won the prestigious title, The Fastest Growing Show. The 2018 edition welcomed 150 exhibitors and 18,100 trade visitors. The 2018 edition grew by a whopping 94% in terms of the net exhibition area, as compared to its previous edition.

HAND TOOLS AND FASTENER EXPO – 2018 won the Global Dominance title and secured the 2nd runner up title in the Fastest Growing Show category. The expo had a whopping 69% participation from overseas exhibitors and the 2018 edition grew 67% in terms of net exhibition area, as compared to its previous edition.

ELECTRONICA INDIA AND PRODUCTRONICA INDIA – 2018 secured the 1st Runner Up in The Global Dominance Category. The show had an impressive 65% participation from overseas exhibitors.

RENEWABLE ENERGY INDIA 2018 secured the 2nd Runner Up in The Global Dominance Category. The show had an impressive 52% participation from overseas exhibitors.

PLASTINDIA 2018 won the prestigious title, The Leading Show – Plastics. 1800 exhibitors from 44 countries attracted 2.46 lakh visitors to 10th PLASTINDIA 2018. The Reverse buyer-seller meets saw 1200 meetings materialize successfully. Industry pledged to raise recycling by 2020.

CPHI 2018 bagged the title, The Leading Show – Pharma, Chemical. India Pharma Week is a week full of events celebrating CPhI India as the bedrock of the growing Indian Pharma Industry, with a plethora of events organized concurrently under the giant umbrella. It is a unique platform of live events which brings Pharma professionals from over 121 countries to network, learn and do business over the course of a week. CPhI& P-MEC India, is the headline event of the India Pharma Week. Since 2006 the exhibition has grown larger with exhibitors and visitors engaging over significant levels of business. The trade fair has grown from 325 exhibitors with an area of 6,076 sqm in 2006 to 1561 international and domestic exhibitors covering a business area of 235,000 sqm and visitors from 121 countries in the year 2018. The Tradeshow saw an increase of 1509 Exhibitors in 2017 to 1561 in 2018.

SATTE 2018 bagged the title, The Leading Show – Travel, Tourism. 1000 Exhibitors, 31000 Visitors, 25000 Sqm, 500+ Hosted makes SATTE what it is. SATTE was acquired by UBM India in 2012 which has grown from 860 exhibitors in 2017 to 1000 in 2018. Spread over 25000 Sqm and has participation from over 28 states & 50 countries. While we are growing at over 12%, market report suggests that competitors are witnessing around 5% growth. Exhibitor retention of 90% & a market share of over 20% reveal that SATTE has acquired a global dominance. It has witnessed a 56% visitor growth and over 6 % growth in exhibitors & sponsorship in 2017, thereby showcasing a phenomenal Gross Profit. The number of hosted buyers is growing at an increase of 25% year on year. This comprehensive show offers newer and innovative opportunity to stakeholders and also opens innovative revenue streams in the form of Beyond the Booth ideas such as:

INDIA MOBILE CONGRESS 2018 won the prestigious title, The Knowledge Hub. The show had a total of 60 distinct conference sessions. Show Name: India Mobile Congress. Held from 25-27 October 2018 at Aerocity, New Delhi, with an Exhibition Area of 5955 sqm, IMC 2018 revolved around four main focus areas namely Networks of the Future: New Digital Horizons, Technology Shaping our Lives: Human World 2.0, Enhancing Consumer Experience: Emerging Trends, Start-ups: Connect. Create. Innovate along with a serious of special sessions. These sessions were conducted in 5 different halls namely Main Hall for inauguration, plenary and keynote address. Other halls Hall A (Connect), Hall B (Create), Hall C (Innovate) for parallel sessions and IMC Digital Studio for startups and B2C engagement programs.

2nd Runner Up in ‘Top B-City Show (B2C)’, Agri Asia 2018,
Organised by Radeecal Communications :180+ companies from India and Overseas had participated in this International Exhibition and around 1, 25,000+ visitors had visited from India and Abroad.

Winner of ‘The Leading Show – Consumer, Houseware’ category, IIMTF 2018 – The India International Mega Trade Fair (IIMTF) was held from 14th to 25th December, 2018 at the Science City Ground in Kolkata. 10,00,000 plus visitors visited the IIMTF in Kolkata. There were 1150 Exhibitors at the IIMTF in Kolkata. The net Exhibition area of this Fair was 5,00,000 sq. ft. 17 countries and 20 states participated in this Fair.


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