Types of Trade Shows

by Contributing Writer ; Updated September 26, 2017
Conference centre

Trade shows can be categorized into three major groups: industry trade shows, consumer trade shows, and trade shows that cater to both industries and consumers. Trade shows are also known as Expos. Industry trade shows are usually closed to the public, and consumer trade shows are organized to provide consumers with an opportunity to purchase goods and services. Industry and consumer trade show vendors typically occupy one or more 10-by-10 portioned spaces called exhibit booths.

Publisher Trade Shows

Stacks of books

The publishing industry participates in trade shows that introduce new books to bookstore owners. These trade shows are organized to market children’s books, cook books, works of fiction, or non-fiction. Seldom are book publishing trade shows open to the public. However, owners of retail establishments do not necessarily have to own bookstores; they only need to sell books to attend. In addition to book publishers, vendors such as retailers of bookshelves and other bookstore fixtures are likely exhibitors.

Restaurant Trade Shows

Businesspeople in restaurant smiling at man using electronic organiser

Trade shows that cater to the restaurant industry feature food, equipment and service vendors. Elaborate demonstrations with skilled professional sales staff are often set up to attract orders for items featured at these types of shows. Restaurant industry business-service vendors such as insurance and advertising agencies are frequent trade show exhibitors.

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Home & Garden Shows

Garden patio

Home and garden trade shows usually cater to homeowners. Up to 400 exhibitors of home-building accessories such as awnings, draperies, driveways and interior flooring commonly exhibit. Garden exhibits that feature water fountains, portable garage buildings, plants and flowers can often be found at home and garden expos.

Art & Craft Trade Shows


Art gallery owners, retail store owners and consumers are the target market of artists and craft makers. Art and craft trade shows differ from gift trade shows, which cater to retailers that sell gift items. Artisans are also common exhibitors at home and garden shows and sell everything from handmade jewelry, to hand-painted furniture.

Salon Industry Trade Shows

Young woman standing in the hairdressers

Trade shows organized by the professional salon industry often welcome industry professionals and consumers. Personal care products such as hair products, make-up and skin care products are demonstrated and sold at salon industry trade shows.

Technology Trade Shows

three businesswomen discussing at an exhibition

New computer technology such as hardware, software programs, and business services are marketed to consumers and retail stores at technology trade shows.

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