Learning from the PROs: European Tradeshows for Non-EU Manufacturers

Last updated: 27 September 2023


According to Globe Newswire, the European tradeshow market is continuing to show positive growth and is projected to reach $10Bn by 2027 from $8.7 in 2022. This is a great opportunity for all potential exhibitors and attendees to learn, grow and explore new ways to be competitive in the European market.

Hence, for non-EU manufacturers who want to enter or continue growing in the European market, it is important to consider attending tradeshows within Europe. Our business development manager, Simone Buiting, explained the importance for North American manufacturers to be present at industry-focused tradeshows in order to be successful in the European market.


Tell us about yourself with a focus on your role at EuroDev


I work in the retail department as a business development manager. My expertise ranges from growing pet products to personal care. But of course, I have come to work with different North American manufacturers in different sectors and helped them grow in Europe, understand the European landscape, and many others.

In the retail sector at EuroDev, we have worked with suppliers from consumer goods, DIY, pets, cleaning products, and anything you can find on the shelves of the store. Our skills are specialized in non-food products. Like all other Business Development managers at EuroDev, I represent several companies at the same time in championing the European retail market.


How do European tradeshows contribute to the success of manufacturers who want to expand into the European market?


For any industry you are in, it is important to know the power of tradeshows for your business. We know that Europe, specifically Germany and France, is home to over 100 tradeshows every year. These shows attract more than 180,000 exhibitors and millions of visitors. Ignoring the power of tradeshows for your business when entering the European market can be the start of your downfall. To be successful in the European retail market, it is important to use these tradeshows to increase your brand awareness and make connections.

Whenever I start working on some projects, they start by asking how much they can sell or even whether they can be guaranteed any sales at the tradeshow or even in the European market. From my experience, tradeshows are not meant for you to sell. I can guarantee you that at a European tradeshow, you will not sell any products at your stand. However, you will be able to meet with distributors, buyers, and other industry players.

At these shows, you will be able to understand why your product would work in one European country and not another, the regulations that are needed, packaging needs, the size of the products, reimbursements, the sales channels for your products, and the competition you might face.

To clearly answer the question, manufacturers should use the tradeshow platform as a place to gather most of their research and understand their market in detail. In most cases, my clients usually end up changing simple things like the packaging colors to suit their market after visiting shows.


Bonus read: Top European Food Technology Shows


How have you been measuring the success of the tradeshows? What are some of the success factors you look at?


For many North American manufacturers in the retail sector, success is determined by how many units of their products can be sold. As I already mentioned, sales, as a KPI for a tradeshow, should not be used for short-term analysis. I always list down how I can determine success in the short term and long term.

In the short term, I determine: How many good conversations did I engage in? How many visitors walked to my booth? How many industry-related visitors were at my booth? How many visitors continued a conversation after the tradeshow? Because all these questions I ask myself are tied to brand awareness and ensuring that my brands are known both offline and online.

In the long run, I measure my success using website traffic, the number of orders, and partnerships with distributors and industry associations. And, of course, if there was a return on investment.

There is no formula for having a successful tradeshow, but in my experience, whenever I had a great location at the show, my success would double. One time, I had a great location, just products, and did not design my booth – and I would say that was one of my best shows. Hence, I would advise manufacturers not to be afraid to invest in having a good booth location if they want to win at the show. 

Bonus read: Measuring Success in Europe


Name three major trends you have identified at the most recent tradeshows


This can be easy if I compare it to the COVID-19 pandemic. At Ambiente, it was evident that the COVID-19 days were behind us. The floors were filled with more than 4,000 exhibitors and 154,000 buyers from different countries. As described by Ambiente, this year was a major seasonal comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another trend to watch out for is that business from tradeshows is easier in Eastern European countries. More innovations are coming up in the retail sector. These range from retail software, warehousing management, HR solutions, and many others. And I noticed that I get more positive follow-ups from businesses in this region than in other regions. I think I have to study this a little more, but so far this year, this has been my observation. 

There is an increasing partnership amongst different tradeshows and associations. For instance, Ambiente was combined with Christmas World and creative world, and MD&M was combined with the West Pack, ATX West, D&M, and Plastic West. You must use this opportunity to meet more players in your industry and learn from each other.


Bonus read: Trade Shows in Europe: Maximizing Opportunities for Business Growth

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