The Top List of Trade Shows by Industry

April 2, 2019
Andrew Doerfler
Voiced by Amazon Polly

The biggest list of trade shows by industry in the United States have a major impact on the business world. These shows attract tens of thousands of people, including industry leaders, top brands, exciting startups, and deep-pocketed buyers. If you’re looking to grow your business, you don’t want to miss out -- and you need to know the top trade shows in each industry.

By attending the top list of trade shows by industry, companies have an opportunity to raise their brand awareness and make a statement about their products and services. Before exhibiting at a trade show, though, it’s essential to research which conventions and exhibitions will maximize your return on investment. Take a look at the list of trade shows by industry to learn where your business can make a big impact.

The Benefits of Top Trade Shows

If you doubt the effectiveness of trade shows, just look at the growing industries that take advantage of them. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, the industries where trade shows are seeing the most growth are government, industrial and heavy machinery, sporting goods, travel and amusement; and raw materials and science. But those are far from the only sectors where trade shows make an impact.

The Top Construction Trade Shows

The Top Construction Trade Shows

At the biggest construction trade shows, you’ll find the cutting-edge technology, heavy duty equipment and innovative materials that are breaking down barriers in the industry. Here are the top construction shows to look out for. Some of them are among the top 100 trade shows in any industry.

ConExpo-Con/Agg

Held every three years at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Conexpo-Con/Agg show is the world’s largest construction trade show. At 2.5 million square feet, Conexpo-Con/Agg hosts more than 120,000 attendees, more than 2,800 exhibitors, and more than 150 educational sessions. Conexpo dates back to 1909, while Con/Agg debuted in 1928. The two trade shows merged in 1994.

The major business categories that appear at the show include concrete construction and manufacturing, foundation equipment, infrastructure support, lifting (aerial and cranes), engines, earthmoving equipment and material handling, trucking, underground construction, aggregates processing, hauling equipment and more. Major companies at Conexpo-Con/Agg include Caterpillar, Komatsu, and Volvo Construction Equipment.

World of Concrete

World of Concrete, the premier trade show for the commercial concrete industry, takes place annually at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Running for more than 40 years now, the trade show draws more than 50,000 attendees and features 1,500 companies exhibiting in about 750,000 square feet of space.

The event presents the best equipment, products and expertise that can improve attendees’ construction businesses. High-profile exhibitors include 3M, Carhartt, Caterpillar, Ford Commercial Vehicles, Liebherr and many more.  

The International Construction & Utility Equipment Exposition (ICUEE)

The utility industry’s largest trade show in North America, the International Construction & Utility Equipment Exposition draws 18,000 industry professionals to learn about the latest utility innovations. It takes place yearly at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

This international trade show’s physical size is among the top 10 largest in the country, with over 1.2 million square feet -- or 28 acres -- of exhibition space. Some top-shelf exhibitors include General Motors Fleet, John Deere Construction & Forestry Company, Mack Trucks, Siemens, and many more.

The Top List of Trade Shows by Industry 1

NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS)

NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) International Builders’ show calls itself the world’s largest trade show for light construction. Usually held in January or February, the annual expo’s location switches between Orlando and Las Vegas, two of the biggest trade show destinations in the United States.

Now 75 years old, the IBS trade show attracts more than 67,000 people and 1,500 exhibitors. Its floor space recently expanded to 608,000 square feet. The NAHB International Builders’ Show teams with the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) every year for Design & Construction Week, which draws more than 100,000 people in all.

Coverings

Calling itself the “global tile & stone experience,” the Coverings show sees about 26,000 attendees and 1,100 exhibitors on its 455,000 square feet of space. It draws people from 90 countries to the trade show floor, including architects, designers, builders, remodelers, contractors and installers, fabricators, retailers and distributors. The 30-year-old conference changes its location yearly, with recent editions in Orlando and Atlanta.

National Hardware Show

The National Hardware Show brings 30,000 industry professionals and more than 2,600 exhibitors to the Las Vegas Convention Center every year. The show’s categories include plumbing, electrical, farm and ranch, tools, lawn and garden, and paint.

The Top Apparel & Accessories Trade Shows

top apparel trade shows

Fashion trade shows are the best way to see the latest products and fashion trends before they hit the stores. These wholesale apparel markets offer opportunities to get ahead of the competition. Here are the biggest clothing trade shows.

MAGIC Market Week

The top fashion trade show in the United States is MAGIC, which formerly stood for Men’s Apparel Guild in California. The show’s offerings, however, go well beyond the menswear sector, with women’s clothing and accessories, shoes, textiles and much more on display.

The show has two editions in Las Vegas, one in February at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and one in August at the Las Vegas Convention Center. MAGIC attracts 85,000 people and 4,000 exhibitors.

Atlanta Apparel Markets

AmericasMart in Atlanta, which draws over 235,000 attendees annually, hosts six annual Atlanta Apparel events, which feature categories like contemporary, young contemporary, ready-to-wear, fashion accessories.

Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market

Five times a year, the Dallas Apparel & Accessories Markets take over the 5 million square foot Dallas Market Center. These apparel trade shows have been running for more than 55, featuring new styles for men, women and children, along with accessories, footwear, swimwear, bridal, and prom offerings. The top installments of the Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market attracts more than 40,000 attendees.

JCK Las Vegas

JCK, which stands for Jewelers Circular Keystone, is the top jewelry trade show in North America. The show, held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, attracts about 20,000 attendees annually and 2,300 exhibitors, offering items such as diamonds, watches, charms, and more.

The Top Manufacturing Trade Shows

top manufacturing trade shows

The industry leaders in manufacturing know that trade shows can be the best way to show off new products and survey the competitive landscape. Take a look at this list of the top manufacturing trade shows to find out where the top manufacturers and industry professionals gather.

International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS)

The biggest manufacturing trade show in North America is the International Manufacturing Technology Show, which sees nearly 130,000 visitors and more than 2,500 exhibiting companies on its 1.4 million square foot trade show floor. IMTS takes place every two years at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Categories at this international trade show include metal cutting, tooling, fabricating and lasters, abrasive machining, gear generation, quality assurance and more.

PACK Expo

The PACK Expo says it is the “largest, most comprehensive packaging event” in North America, with more than 50,000 industry professionals and 2,500 suppliers and other companies exhibiting on the trade show floor. The PACK Expo’s location alternates between Chicago and Las Vegas.

The trade show’s floor spans about 1.2 million square feet. Its exhibitors are in fields such as automation, filling and sealing, digital printing, coding and labeling, line integration, robotics, trace and trace, remote operation and much more.

FABTECH International

The largest trade show in North America for metal forming, fabricating and welding, FABTECH draws more the 33,000 attendees from 75 countries around the world to learn about the latest innovations in the industry. With more than 600,000 square feet of trade show floor space, recent FABTECH shows have taken place in Chicago and Atlanta.

AHR Expo

The world’s largest HVAC and refrigeration event, AHR Expo dates back to 1930. The most recent trade show drew more than 27,000 visitors, with 112 countries represented. More than 1,800 companies exhibited. Manufacturers, utility companies, contractors and engineers all appear at the show. AHR Expo is held at trade show hotspots like Chicago and Orlando.

The Top Electronics & Tech Trade Shows

top electronics trade shows

The electronics and technology field is advancing so rapidly, it’s hard to keep up. Thankfully, top industry expos allow consumers, retailers and others a chance to see how the heavy hitters in the field are innovating. These are the most important tech and electronics expos to follow for the latest products and breakthroughs in this booming field.

Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

Without question, the most important gathering for electronics and tech professional is the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). In fact, it is one of the two biggest trade shows in the United States, by both attendance and square footage. Every January at the Las Vegas Convention Center, CES hosts about 150,000 attendees and 4,000 exhibitors, representing over 150 different countries.

The show is popular for its influence as much as its size. At CES, you’re sure to see the latest technological innovations. Pioneering home electronics such as pocket radios, VCRs, video game systems, DVDs and Blu-Rays, plasma TVs and many more debuted at CES.

VMWorld

Launched in 2004, VMWorld is a major virtualization and cloud computing show. The five-day event has seen crowds as high as 23,000, with more than 230 exhibitors. VMWorld’s visitors come from more than 100 countries and represent more than 17 different industries. For the last several years, the conference has been held in either Las Vegas or San Francisco. A European version of the event takes place in Barcelona.

GITEX

The United States doesn’t dominate the whole market when it comes to trade shows -- especially if you’re talking about electronics and technology. GITEX, which stands for Gulf Information Technology Exhibition, is a hugely important event that has drawn upwards of 150,000 people. The show takes place yearly in October at the Dubai World Trade Center in the United Arab Emirates.

Along with its exhibitions, GITEX is renowned for its “X-Labs” that focus on new innovations and Tech Talks discussing forward-thinking trends in the industry.

The Top List of Trade Shows by Industry 1

International Security Conference West (ISC West)

While more specific than some of the other electronics and technology trade shows, the International Security Conference West is still a major player. Over 30,000 security professionals convene to show off their goods in Las Vegas for ISC West, including more than 1,000 exhibitors. Fields on hand include drone, robotics, access control and more.

TechCrunch Disrupt

The biggest Silicon Valley influencers and pioneers convene every year for TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco. It’s a must for developers, industry leaders, investors and others looking to make their mark in the industry. While Disrupt’s attendance of about 10,000 may seem paltry compared to some of the massive shows on this list, this conference is notable for its impact.

Recent speakers at the show have included major venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, NBA star Stephen Curry, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, and 23andMe co-founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki. While the San Francisco edition is the flagship event, the show has also held conferences in Berlin, New York City, Beijing and London.

The Top Entertainment Trade Shows

top entertainment trade shows

The trade show industry isn’t all hard work and no play. Some of the most important -- and most exciting -- expos are focused on fields dedicated to fun and games. Here are a few of the top-billed entertainment trade shows:

IAAPA Expo

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo is the premier show for amusement parks, water parkers, family fun centers, zoos, aquariums and other popular attractions. Held in Orlando, the IAAPA Expo hosts more than 35,000 attendees, including 24,000 buyers. Over 1,00 exhibitors present on the trade show floor, which spans more than 575,000 square feet.

E3

The most anticipated event of the year for committed gamers, the E3 show is your chance to see what’s hot in the world of computer and video games. The show crams the Los Angeles Convention Center full of developers, programmers, manufacturers, executives, fans and more to check out new releases and yet-to-be-released previews. More than 50,000 gamers attend every year.

NAB Show

The National Association of Broadcasters Show goes well beyond traditional broadcasting. Rather, the event is a hub for media professionals in fields such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, virtual reality, e-sports, podcasting, streaming, in-vehicle entertainment, voice recognition and much. Held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the NAB Show attracts about 100,000 attendees more than 160 countries. More than 1,700 exhibitors can be found on the show floor.

National Association of Music Merchants

The music industry takes its trade shows seriously: Held every year in Anaheim, California in January, the NAMM Show attracts about 115,000 people every year for networking opportunities, the latest products from leading brands, and hundreds of educational sessions.

The NAMM show is the largest trade show for music products in the world, featuring exhibitors who focus on recording technology, stage lighting, sound equipment and much more. A special summer edition of the event is also held annually.

Comic Con

The annual pop culture convention has expanded well beyond its modest origins to encompass everything dealing with sci-fi, fantasy, horror, animation, video games and much more. 49 years after it first launched, Comic Con now sees attendance that exceeds 130,000 annually. Comic Con’s signature event is held at the San Diego Convention Center.

The Top Home Decor, Furniture and Interior Design Trade Shows

The Top Home Decor, Furniture and Interior Design Trade Shows

Any list of the top trade shows by industry would be incomplete without a look at the largest and most influential shows for home decor, furniture and interior design. This sector produces many of the nation’s most popular expos and conferences. These are just a few with the biggest impact.

High Point Market

The biggest furniture trade show in the world is the High Point Market, held twice a year in High Point, North Carolina. About 75,000 people attend the High Point Market every April and October. Formerly known as International Home Furnishings Market and the Southern Furniture Market, the High Point Market features 12 million square feet of show space, 180 buildings, more than 2,000 exhibitors, and attendance from more than 100 countries.

NeoCon

Every year in Chicago, top design professionals convene for NeoCon, one of the most influential industry trade shows. About 50,000 people attend each year, and more than 500 companies showcase their latest designs in categories such as furnishings, flooring, fabrics, technology and much more.

Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market

Taking place four times a year at AmericasMart, the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market hosts about 8,000 brands with a wide range of offerings in the 7 million square foot facility. Attendees can also attend seminars, demos, networking events and parties.

Kitchen & Bath Industry Show

The Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) attracts 30,000 attendees and 600 exhibitors as part of Design & Construction Week, held in conjunction with the NAHB International Builders’ Show. KBIS alternates between shows in Las Vegas and Orlando.

Lightfair International

Architectural and commercial lighting is the focus at Lightfair, which draws 28,075 attendees from 85 countries and 600 exhibitors in all. The show sees more than 60 first-time exhibiting companies and 130 manufacturers from outside the U.S. Recent editions of Lightfair have taken place in Philadelphia, Chicago, San Diego and New York City.

The Top List of Trade Shows by Industry 1

International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF)

The International Contemporary Furniture Fair has established itself as one of the most prestigious design trade shows, boasting luxury brands and pioneering industry leaders. ICFF draws about 35,000 people to New York City every year.

The Top International Design Trade Shows

For some of the biggest design fairs, you have to look outside of the United States. The largest furniture trade fair in the world is Salon del Mobile, held annually in Milan every April. The show draws more than 250,000 attendees annually.

Another major European design fair is Maison et Objet in Paris, which calls itself the “international authority” for the design industry. Maison et Objet attracts more than 80,000 visitors, including industry leaders and well-heeled buyers looking to see the latest trends. Light + Building in Frankfurt is the top architectural lighting design trade show in the world.

The China International Furniture Fair in Shanghai, meanwhile, recently saw its highest-ever attendance, with nearly 150,000 people attending. The show featured 1,300 exhibitors on its 1.3 million square foot trade show floor.

The Top Sports Trade Shows

Trade shows for the sports industry showcase the latest in equipment, apparel, technology. The top events can give retailers, leagues, teams and schools a leg up on the competition.

Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show

Outdoor Retailer is the biggest recreation trade show in the United States. After relocating from Utah to a permanent home in Denver, the expo drew a record 29,000 attendees, including 7,500 buyers from 60 countries. More than 1,000 brands exhibited at the show. At the show, visitors find the best new products in hiking, skiing, camping, fishing, surfing, health and fitness, biking and more.

NSSF SHOT Show

Held annually in Las Vegas, the NSSF Shot Show is the world’s largest trade show for shooting sports. The National Shooting Sports Foundation SHOT Show is short for Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show. About 60,000 people attend the expo annually.

The Top List of Trade Shows by Industry 1

New York Boat Show

The world’s longest running boat show, the New York Boat Show draws roughly 40,000 people every year. The show is held annually in January. Boat enthusiasts of all types will find interesting products at the event, with offerings that range from kayaks, canoes and personal watercrafts to yachts and pontoon boats.

IWA & OutdoorClassics

An annual trade show for hunting and shooting sports, IWA & Outdoor Classics is second only to the NSSF Shot Show as the biggest event in its field. The show, held in Nuremberg, Germany, attracts nearly 50,000 people every year.

PGA Merchandise Show

First launched in 1954, the PGA Merchandise Show is the top destination for the latest in golf products and business. About 40,000 attendees flock to the gathering every year to mingle with industry professionals, see the latest innovations from leading companies and attend educational programs to grow their businesses.

The Top Automotive and Transportation Trade Shows

top automotive trade shows

The automotive industry is among the biggest sectors for trade shows -- in both attendance and square footage. To show off cars, trucks, RVs and related equipment, you need a lot of space. Here are some of the major automotive and transportation trade shows leading the way.

Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show

Launched in 1963, SEMA is one of the largest trade shows in the United States by attendance, with roughly 160,000 attendees every year, including more than 70,000 buyers. The show is focused on the automotive aftermarket equipment, and manufacturers rely on the event to debut their most exciting new products. Located at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the SEMA trade show grounds encompass more than 1.2 million square feet and feature 2,400 exhibitors. About 400 new companies showcase at the event every year.

A sister show to SEMA, AAPEX takes place simultaneously at the nearby Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas.

NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE)

The National Business Aviation Association’s annual gathering draws more than 20,000 people every year. NBAA-BACE is the world’s largest trade show for business aviation, attracting aircraft owners, manufacturers, service providers, and other industry professionals. In recent years, the event’s location has alternated between Orlando and Las Vegas.

Mid-American Trucking Show (MATS)

More than 70,000 attendees and over 1,000 exhibitors appear at the Mid-America Trucking Show. The expo takes place every March at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, with more than 1 million square feet of show space.

The Top List of Trade Shows by Industry 1

National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show

New automotive products and technology are on show at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show. About 20,000 people gather to see the 500 exhibiting companies. NADA has held recent expos in Las Vegas, New Orleans and San Francisco.

Florida RV Supershow

The Florida RV SuperShow saw record attendance with more than 74,000 people recently attending the event on the Florida State Fairgrounds. More than 1,500 RVs sprawl out across 26 acres of trade show grounds in this massive event. That number actually tops the attendance at the so-called America’s Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pennsylvania, which most recently hosted about 60,000 attendees.

The Top Hospitality Trade Shows

top hospitality trade shows

The hospitality industry, encompassing hotels, restaurants, resorts and more, is always looking for new ways to enhance customer service and guest experience. One of the best ways to stay competitive is to attend a hospitality trade show, where industry leaders convene to showcase their latest breakthroughs.

National Restaurant Association Show

Coming up on its 100th year anniversary, the National Restaurant Association Show is an enormous gathering of leaders in the hospitality industry. More than 65,000 attendees visit the National Restaurant Association Show, which boasts more than 700,000 square feet of show space. The expo takes places annually at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Nightclub & Bar Show

Calling itself “the nation’s most influential gathering of bar and nightlife professionals,” the Nightclub & Bar Show in Las Vegas attracts about 35,000 visitors to see more than 600 exhibits. While the attendees and exhibitors are serious about their business, it’s no surprise that the show features a packed slate of nightlife events, including dance parties, bourbon tastings, a bar walk, and more.

The HD Expo

The HD Expo is focused on hospitality design, an essential component of the industry. The expo attracts about 12,500 guests and features more than 800 exhibitors on its 275,000 square foot show floor. The show takes place every May in Las Vegas.

The Top List of Trade Shows by Industry 1

The Hotel Experience (HX)

Formerly known as the International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show, the Hotel Experience now draws about 12,000 people and hundreds of exhibits. The show takes place every November ar the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.

Other List of Trade Shows by Industry

Nearly every business sector is represented in the trade show scene. A list of important trade shows by industry could go on forever, but we would be remiss to leave out these fields.

Top Food Trade Shows

  • World Dairy Expo, held annually in Wisconsin, drawing more than 70,000 people
  • Sweets & Snacks Expo, with about 20,000 attendees and 700 exhibitors gathering at McCormick Place in Chicago
  • Institute of Food Technologist (IFT) Expo, drawing more than 20,000 attendees to locations like New Orleans and Chicago

The Top Energy Trade Shows

  • The Offshore Technology Conference, which takes place yearly at NRG Park in Houston and boasts about 60,000 attendees
  • Power-Gen International, the world’s top trade show for power generation, pulls in 20,000 industry professionals and 1,400 exhibiting companies
  • Solar Power International, created in 2004, draws about 20,000 attendees and 750 exhibitors
  • NAPE Summit, held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, sees about 12,000 attendees. Its name stands for North American Prospect Expo.
  • Distributech is a major utility summit that attracts more than 11,000 attendees and more than 500 exhibiting companies

The Top Healthcare and Medical Trade Shows

  • The HIMSS Global Conference & Exhibition, which stands for Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, is the top Health IT conference in America, hosting about 40,000 people
  • The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting attracts about 30,000 attendees and 400 exhibitors
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) brings about 10,000 people to its annual meeting

Shipping to a Top Industry Trade Show

If your business is planning to exhibit at one of the biggest trade shows in the country, it’s essential that your booth materials arrive and on time. You can rely on R+L Global Logistics to handle your shipment through every step of the process.

The experienced trade show team at R+L Global Logistics can navigate every step of the complicated trade show shipping process. With 24/7 customer support, you can be confident that your items will be there when you need them. To connect with a representative now, use the chat or call 866-415-8986.

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