Product brands use trade shows to showcase new products, build relationships and to look for new retailers to work with. With the continuing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, these trade shows may look and feel very different in 2022 than they have in the past. While the goal remains to boost profits and market reach for everything from toys to tools to TVs, new rules and practices for safety are being taken into account.

Trade shows offer booth and table space to manufacturers or product line sources in order to make connections that keep their business running in the following year and beyond. However, with virtual meetings and communication surging upward and in-person gatherings dwindling, brands may ask if product trade shows are worth it or even an option.

A Shift to Virtual Trade Shows

As early as 2020, show organizers canceled events all across the country. In 2021, the number of active conventions stayed lower than normal. Hope holds for a more active 2022 with various high-profile product shows already scheduled. These include Toyfair, the Inspired Home Show, and the Consumer Electronics Show.

Concerns about large crowds in busy spaces has led to more virtual or online events than ever before. In 2021, these included global business services, fashion, education, wellness, and packaging industry events. Expo West hosted a virtual week. Ametek also went online for cross-industry exhibitions.

While incorporating virtual experiences and online content for product trade shows represents an intelligent move in these challenging times, the biggest events still offer on-site experiences. How they work for 2022 depends a lot on local regulations, the organizer’s rules, and the dedication of all attendees to make the event safe and comfortable for all.

2022 Changes to How Product Trade Shows Work

Two different approaches are apparent when researching individual product conventions and shows. Either the organizers attempt to keep everything running as normally as possible with no real concessions for the pandemic situation or new guidelines and rules are in place specifically focused on Covid-19 precautions. For example, the Inspired Home Show, which was canceled in 2021, is scheduled in six different locations for the 2022 Chicago event with no specific instructions about vaccination status or mask wearing.

The Consumer Electronics Show and the National Hardware Show take a more direct approach to health and safety questions. They will require vaccination status and masks or face coverings as determined by their event location mandates and recommendations. No matter what product trade show you want to attend in 2022, take the time to research its rules before you get a ticket or sign up. This will cut down on potential issues that may hamper the enjoyment and efficacy of the convention itself.

The end goal of all trade show organizers is to offer a venue for both vendors and attendees to make connections that boost their business in the coming year. This will not change in 2022 or in years to come. However, when determining how product trade shows will work in these challenging times, look specifically for more virtual events and options as well as health and safety guidelines that help protect everyone involved.

Exhibiting at trade shows in 2022 is not part of your strategy but you still want to get your brand in front of US and Canadian retailers. Contact us at or call at 1-630-246-4068.