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5 Trade Show Trends in 2016

By Todd Millett on January 19, 2016

It's hard to believe we are already over halfway through January! Surely, by now we have all either started writing 2016 or at least (if you're like me) realized how easy it is to turn the 5 into a 6 when accidentally writing last year's date. As a company, Trade Show Joe sat down and discussed what trends we think will be prominent in 2016. We asked the founder, Dan Riley, to jump in and give us his input since he has experience in the industry dating back to 2001. Here is what we determined.


Dye-sublimation Printed Contour Fabric Displays

 Dye-sublimation Fabric Trade Show Display

Based on their product lines, many display manufacturers seem to agree that the high-quality and versatile dye-sublimation printing style pairs very nicely with contour fabric fixtures. From Orbus' Formulate Displays to Matrix Frame's custom light box displays, we repeatedly see this concept of wrapping a frame with the slightly stretchy, printed fabric. The true appeal of this technology is that a huge variety of shapes, sizes, and configurations can be made into a display. Displays that show personality and stand out are becoming more affordable as a result. In 2016, we will see even more of these at the shows, and manufactures will continue to make new creative, unique, and unusual designs.


Copy-cat Products

Over the past several years oversees manufacturing has gradually caught wind of the trade show industry. Reduced labor costs mean less expensive products for the end consumer. However, the quality is not comparable across the market. In a niche market that involves custom products such as ours, the old saying "You get what you pay for," almost always rings true. There are a few exceptions, and this is why it is important to get to know your trade show vendor and to ask the right questions. There are companies out there that will list anything and everything for sale on their website, regardless of how well they know the products they represent. Others only deal with top name brands, but they normally charge an arm and a leg for their products and services. This is a safe bet if cost is not a concern. For Trade Show Joe, we find that most of our customers are seeking value. For this reason, we seek out products that are both reliable and affordable. Any company should be able to tell you about any of their products and give you an honest opinion about the quality. If you are unsure, it never hurts to seek a second opinion from an expert.


Faux Wood Interlocking Flooring

Faux Wood Trade Show Flooring

We saw an increase in popularity with faux wood flooring in 2015, and we expect it to continue this year. It all comes down to preference, but many people find it to be more visually appealing than its foam and carpet tile counterparts at close to the same cost. Additionally, the color options and design are versatile and will pair nicely with just about any display. 


More Tubular Displays, Fewer Pop-up Displays

Formulate Tension Fabric Display

This goes almost hand-in-hand with the dye-sublimation trend. The vast majority of the display frames dye-sublimation printed fabric graphics wrap around are made up of tubular components. These displays include a number of tubes that are usually 3 - 4 feet long. They interconnect with one another to form the larger display frame. Then, the pillowcase-like graphic stretches up and over the entire frame. These displays are proving to me more durable, more portable, and easier to maintain. A quality printed graphic can simply be washed in a washing machine, folded up, and stored until the next show.


LED Lighting

Matrix Frame Lightbox Display

When they first hit the market, LED lights were much more expensive than their halogen and incandescent counterparts. As the technology continues to advance, the price gap is becoming less drastic. With safety regulations for lighting in Las Vegas, LED lighting has become the most efficient way to achieve a pure, bright illumination without breaking the rules. This is because they shine brighter with less power and do not get nearly as hot. The bulbs also last much longer before they burn out - up to 20,000 hours of continuous use. Since they don't get hot enough to cause damage, a new trend has also developed. Strips of LED bulbs can be embedded inside display frames, behind a contour fabric graphic. This creates an eye-catching glow effect and brings more life into the graphic.


We look forward to seeing what this year brings to the trade show industry and we expect to see even more color and creativity at the shows. We've seen the early adopters and now we are seeing some of the latest innovations catch mainstream at more affordable prices than ever. As time goes on, more possibilities arise and we will see an increase in diversity amidst the various booths on the trade show floor!

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