German survey shows exhibitions preferable to digital formats

A 2019 study commissioned by the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA), carried out by KANTAR TNS, has revealed that German exhibition companies consider tradefairs to offer 'substantial advantages' over digital instruments, like social media and virtual marketplaces.

Almost all (99%) of the exhibitors surveyed consider 'significant advantages' of exhibitions to be personal contact and the opportunity for direct networking. Ninety-five per cent see an 'advantage' in the opportunity to advise potential customers directly through company employees with a wide range of expertise.

82 per cent of the companies surveyed say another 'significant advantage' of exhibitions over digital formats is the possibility of addressing all five senses via authentic product presentations. Nearly 50% of exhibitors consider it 'important' that products can be checked at trade fairs without the obligation to purchase them, whilst 60%  see a 'sustainable positive effect' for their companies if they can create experiences for trade visitors.

AUMA views the survey results as "evidence that most companies clearly recognise how to distinguish themselves by a direct customer approach during exhibitions". This does not mean exhibitors see the question in either/or terms of exhibitions and digital media: 62% also use social media for B2B communication, and 49% use online advertising. 23% of exhibitors also utilise virtual marketplaces, however the 'limited range of functionalities, caused by technical issues, has been cited as a reason why visitors prefer direct contact at tradefairs.

The survey was based on an opinion poll of 500 representative German companies that exhibit at fairs with a focus on trade.