Here is how Millennials are Changing Trade Shows

Millennials are the part of the current and next generation of consumers. Without a doubt, this generation has a unique view of their abilities and the world around them. They describe themselves as ‘young, tech-savvy, hip, cool and innovative’ while the non-millennials perceive the millennials as young, spoiled, lazy, tech-savvy, and entitled.

The change

A recent report (How Millennials Could Upend Wall Street and Corporate America) indicates that millennials are the most significant generation in the workforce. By 2020, it’s estimated that more than one in every three adults will be a millennial. And by 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials.

This generation lives in a truly digital world. About 80% of them sleep with their phones, and when they wake up, it takes them less than five minutes to connect digitally and check their mobile devices every six minutes. However, this ‘digital’ connection generates some issues in the real world. There is minimal face-to-face communication, and that’s the reason most millennials don’t know how to initiate conversations and end them! Sometimes, they are scared of being alone and rarely confront friction head-on in the real world.

This is bad news for the trade show industry. With minimal face-to-face marketing, does it mean trade shows have no future?

Definitely no!

What marketers can do

One good thing about millennials is that they value experiences more than other items. Thus, marketers must be more creative with their trade show displays and offer great experiences in entertainment, learning, networking, marketing, and other aspects of trade shows. All these elements must layer together to generate an experience that allows millennials to connect at a personal level.


Learning is a human characteristic ingrained in our DNA and millennials aren’t an exception. Trade shows should be more of learning opportunities rather than too promotional sentences. Find topics that resonate with your products (or brand) and incorporate them into your booth design and strategy.


Millennials have been living in a digital world where entertainment is always a few clicks away. Think of like watching videos on YouTube – one video leads to another, and the list is endless. Your booth should incorporate entertainment options that can attract and keep people interested in whatever you’re showing or telling them.


While networking online is easier and less nerve-racking, millennials and non-millennials will always want to be around other people. How do marketers bridge this gap between networking in a real world and online networking?

It’s wise to begin networking online before the trade show. Spark exciting conversations with your customers and prospects on social media channels and other platforms. This will lead to more conversations during the show. Such a great networking option will help the millennials to communicate and also connect with your brand easily.


Trade shows are more about the entire experience of being at a show. Millennials are simply interested in what they can take away based on what they learn from networking or your booth. While sales at actual trade shows might decrease, the show itself will always remain a crucial part of sales. So, focus on closing the gap between your brand and your customers or prospects.

If trade shows are made a layered experience that incorporates these elements, they can continue to be perfect arenas for the B2B sales cycle.