Does your business plan to exhibit at international trade shows this year? Trade shows provide an opportunity to grow your business in new markets and drive higher global revenues. They diversify your client base and can serve as a launching point for sustained international success.
Yet, for many businesses, researching international trade shows can be a time-demanding and complicated process. There are websites and resources available online to support this phase of the process, but it can still be difficult to sift through the many low-quality events to find the high-quality ones.
This article, updated bi-annually, provides Canadian business leaders with the top export trade shows for their industry over the coming six months.
The events listed below may allow attendees or exhibitors to access export development grants such as CanExport. These Canadian government funding programs can strategically reduce the costs of booth rental, travel and accommodation, and even the translation of marketing materials.
Top Trade Shows for Canadian Businesses in 2020
Although we also advise performing your own exporting event research, we’ve used several resources to curate a tailored selection of international trade shows worth participating in 2020.
Consider the following trade shows when developing your business’ 2020 exporting plans.
Explore Trade Shows by Industry: Use the following hyperlinks to jump to trade shows for your industry.
International Manufacturing Trade Shows
(Dubai, United Arab Emirates) The Middle East Coatings Show is a unique, dedicated event for raw materials suppliers and equipment manufacturers in the coatings industry. Exhibitors include chemical and raw materials, plant and machinery, and testing equipment suppliers. Visitors include business representatives interested in purchasing solvents, pigments, paint chemicals, additives, and natural resins. The show is a chance for business representatives to network, meet active buyers, increase brand awareness, and generate leads.
Attendees: 5,300 Exhibitors: 300 Ratio: 18 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Guangzhou, China) Interzum Guangzhou is Asia’s most all-inclusive woodworking, machinery, furniture production, and interior décor trade fair. Since this event is a source for the latest products, technologies, and designs, it is an important event for furniture production businesses interested in selling to the Asian market. Professional buyers from 145 countries and regions attend.
Attendees: 94,000 Exhibitors: 1,500 Ratio: 62 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Las Vegas, NV, United States of America) For 75 years, the National Hardware Show has served the hardware and home improvement industry. Attendees include distributors, wholesalers, contactors, mass retailers, paint stores, garden centers, manufacturers, and more. Visitors and exhibitors experience new buying opportunities, participate in face-to-face networking, and witness new merchandising solutions.
Attendees: 20,000 Exhibitors: 2,800 Ratio: 7 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Chicago, IL, United States of America) Marking its 52nd edition, NeoCon serves as the commercial design industry’s accelerator for innovation. The event showcases thousands of new products and services from major manufacturers and emerging companies in the fabrics, furniture, flooring, interior finishes, and building products sectors. In addition to the trade floor, the conference offers 100 educational seminars, programs, and marquee presentations.
Attendees: 50,000 Exhibitors: 500 Ratio: 100 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Bangkok, Thailand) Manufacturing Expo 2020 is the leading machinery and technology event for manufacturing in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The expo features the latest developments and solutions in manufacturing, including technologies related to the internet of things (IOT), advanced robotics, and big data solutions. Participants from 46 countries will exhibit and attend.
Attendees: 85,000 Exhibitors: 2,400 Ratio: 35 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Chicago, IL, United States of America) Now in its 33rd year, IMTS is one of the premier manufacturing technology shows in North America. Industry professionals from 117 countries attend IMTS to see and experience more than 15,000 new manufacturing technologies to improve their capabilities and increase efficiency. Technologies showcased include machine tools, controls, computers, software, components, systems, and processes.
Attendees: 130,000 Exhibitors: 2,500 Ratio: 52 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
International Aerospace Trade Shows
(Farnborough, United Kingdom) One of the UK’s largest aerospace trade shows, the Southern Manufacturing and Electronics exhibition highlights new technology in machinery, electronic production, production equipment, assembly, tooling, and subcontract services across industries that include aerospace, packaging, marine, machinery, and automotive. The show is co-located with AutoAero, an event focused on suppliers to the UK’s aerospace and automotive engineering sectors.
Attendees: 9,000 Exhibitors: 800 Ratio: 11 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Friedrichshafen, Germany) AERO Friedrichshafen is an international trade show dedicated to innovations in aviation. Planes and equipment on display include ultralights, business planes, helicopters, and pilot equipment, as well as cockpit and on-board systems. Exhibitors cover the entire industry, from ultralights and gliders to business jets, helicopters, and electric aircraft, as well as avionics and maintenance. The trade show also hosts separate conferences featuring specialist speakers who discuss the industry’s most relevant issues.
Attendees: 33,000 Exhibitors: 630 Ratio: 52 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Orlando, FL, United States of America) WATS is one of the world’s largest gatherings of aviation training professionals in the world, serving regulators, training providers, airlines, and the training industry. The event is dedicated to student education and aviation career training for world pilots, regional pilots, maintenance crews, and cabin crews. Exhibitors and attendees connect and experience first-hand the latest technologies in aviation training from the industry’s top experts.
Attendees: 1,200 Exhibitors: 80 Ratio: 15 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Palm Springs, CA, United States of America) The Advanced Aerospace Materials and Processes Conference and Exposition (Aeromat) is a prominent event for structural engineers, aerospace materials engineers, and designers. Now in its 31st year, the event brings together delegates and exhibiting companies, providing an ideal platform for discussing the newest innovations in materials and processes for aerospace. In 2020, a key focus will be the implementation of new technologies into future designs and legacy platforms to leverage improved performance, cost, and sustainability of aerospace structures and engines.
Attendees: 5,000 Exhibitors: 200 Ratio: 25 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Berlin, Germany) ILA Berlin is a primary tradeshow for the international aerospace industry, showcasing the very best high-tech products, as well as research and development projects. The show highlights the impacts of key industry issues, including eco-efficiency and digitalization, and autonomous flying. In the International Supplier Center ISC, suppliers from all over the world gather to present their innovations.
Attendees: 65,000 Exhibitors: 1,100 Ratio: 59 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Dubai, United Arab Emirates) The MEBAA Show is the Middle East’s leading business aviation exhibition, providing a key opportunity for networking and exhibitions for companies across the entire industry. Visitors can view innovative products and services available from the world’s leading companies, visit a huge range of aircraft on display, and network with key contacts in the business aviation industry.
Attendees: 10,000 Exhibitors: 500 Ratio: 20 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
International Automotive Trade Shows
(Hannover, Germany) Now in its 20th year, the Tire Technology Expo is one of Europe’s most important tire manufacturing exhibitions and conferences. The 2020 program offers event speakers and workshop programs on industry-relevant issues, including tire compounds, advanced modelling, stress and deformation analysis, and other topics. The trade floor exhibitors cover all aspects of the tire industry, including tire manufacturing technology, tire design and engineering, and developments and advances in tire evaluation and performance.
Attendees: 6,200 Exhibitors: 320 Ratio: 19 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Beijing, China) A leading automotive show in Asia, the Auto Maintenance and Repair Expo (AMR) draws thousands of exhibitors and attendees from all over the world. Held across four days, the event showcases the parts, auto service, repair technology, maintenance, and equipment sectors. AMR’s program serves trade visitors across the industry, including car manufacturers, car shops, test stations, and transportation companies, while offering a key venue for industry partners to share business and technological knowledge.
Attendees: 59,000 Exhibitors: 1,200 Ratio: 49 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Stuttgart, Germany) This expo is unique in being solely dedicated to advanced technologies for autonomous vehicle development. Showcased technologies include AI and virtual environments, deep learning systems, validation of autonomous systems, and more. It is also an important event for the entire automotive sector, as it is co-located with the Engine Expo, Automotive Interiors Expo, Automotive Testing Expo, and the Global Automotive Components and Suppliers Expo.
Attendees: 14,000 Exhibitors: 800 Ratio: 19 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Shanghai, China) Transport Logistic is a leading trade fair for mobility, logistics, IT, and supply chain management for land, water, intermodal freight, and air. Attendees can connect with future partners using the B2B platform and find tailored logistics solutions to meet their needs. Businesses have an opportunity to meet with experts from all over the world, identify current industry trends and challenges, and secure concrete business deals in an event that reflects the entire value chain of the logistics industry.
Attendees: 26,000 Exhibitors: 670 Ratio: 38 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Frankfurt, Germany) Authomechanika brings together industry organizations, experts, and retailers in one event for the automotive service industry, including trade attendees from 184 countries. Highlighted themes for 2020 include workshop equipment and tomorrow’s mobility, body and paint, tires and wheels, and diagnostics and repair. While this event is in Germany, other Automechanika events take place in 16 countries worldwide, including the USA, UAE, Mexico, India, and others.
Attendees: 135,000 Exhibitors: 5,000 Ratio: 27 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
International Clean Technology Trade Shows
(Essen, Germany) E-world Energy and Water is a meeting point for the European energy industry, focusing on products and technologies in the areas of energy services, information technology, and energy trade. Important topics for 2020 include cyber security, smart cities, climate solutions and energy transition, infrastructure and grids, as well as innovations in the sector. There will also be a special forum and lecture focusing on recruitment challenges.
Attendees: 25,000 Exhibitors: 750 Ratio: 33 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Indianapolis, IN, United States of America) The Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport Show (WWETT) provides a gathering place for wastewater and environmental service professionals from around the world. In addition to an expo where buyers and sellers can experience product innovations and new technology, the show also offers four days of educational programming, a multitude of live demos, and numerous networking opportunities.
Attendees: 13,500 Exhibitors: 600 Ratio: 22 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Shanghai, China) IEexpo is an essential trade fair in Asia for environmental technology solutions for water, air, waste, and soil. The event offers a business and networking platform to Chinese and international professionals in the environmental sector, with an emphasis on environmental and climate protection. Exhibitors and attendees come from sectors that include water and sewage treatment, site remediation, environment monitoring, noise, waste management, and air pollution control and air purification.
Attendees: 73,000 Exhibitors: 2,000 Ratio: 37 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Munich, Germany) Held each year for almost 30 years, Intersolar Europe is one of the most important industry platforms for manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, service providers, and partners of the solar industry. The event includes both an exhibition and a conference focusing on the areas of photovoltaics, solar thermal technologies, solar plants, as well as grid infrastructure and solutions for the integration of renewable energy.
Attendees: 50,000 Exhibitors: 1,450 Ratio: 34 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
International Food and Beverage Processing Trade Shows
(San Francisco, CA, United States of America) Organized by the Specialty Food Association, the Winter Fancy Food Show unites thousands of international food products and vendors in one place. Exhibitors and attendees have an opportunity to meet the newest producers, connect with buyers from major market channels, and sample the newest food and beverage products. While this event is in January, the Specialty Food Association will also hold a Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City, June 28-30.
Attendees: 25,000 Exhibitors: 1,400 Ratio: 18 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Mumbai, India) Supporting international business opportunities, this event is a B2B-focused trade show for members of the fast-growing food and hospitality industry. Attendees of Food Hospitality World include hoteliers, restaurateurs, caterers, food service professionals, purchasers, restaurant managers, food court retailers, and wholesalers from 12 countries around the world. The event organizer, Express Food & Hospitality, will hold additional shows in Bengaluru (in June), Goa (in July-August), and Hyderabad (in September).
Attendees: 11,956 Exhibitors: 500 Ratio: 24 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Nuremberg, Germany) BioFach, one of the leading international trade fairs for organic food, provides a platform for manufacturers to position their company and products competitively, and for visiting professionals to source products from the organic market. Exhibitors display the most recent trends and developments in the organic sector.
Attendees: 51,488 Exhibitors: 2,983 Ratio: 17 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Dubai, United Arab Emirates) In its 25th edition, Gulfood will showcase thousands of new food product launches, as well as new services and innovations that reflect changes in market trends. This food and beverage trade show will include 120 country pavilions, demonstrating products from across eight main sectors: beverages; dairy; fats and oils; health, wellness, and free-from; pulses, grains, and cereals; meat and poultry; world food; and power brands.
Attendees: 100,000 Exhibitors: 5,000 Ratio: 20 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Istanbul, Turkey) World Food Istanbul is one of the largest meeting points and export marketing opportunities for the Turkish food industry, bringing together international exhibitors and attendees. The event introduces a multitude of new products in the food industry, and visitors include retailers, wholesalers, major supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, and cafes.
Attendees: 20,800 Exhibitors: 500 Ratio: 41 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Chiba City, Japan) A new show launching in 2020, FOODtech Japan is an international B2B trade show for food processing and automation technologies. The show will serve as a platform for companies who have products, machines, or solutions for processed foods, packaged foods, dairy products, bakeries, sweets, restaurants, and beverages.
Attendees: TBA Exhibitors: TBA Ratio: TBA
International Medical and Pharmaceutical Trade Shows
(Dubai, United Arab Emirates) Arab Health brings together the latest innovations in the healthcare industry, across eight key sectors: medical equipment and devices; healthcare and general services; disposables and consumer goods; healthcare infrastructure and assets; imaging and diagnostics; IT systems and solutions; preventative and post-diagnostic treatments; and orthopaedics and physiotherapy/rehabilitation. Attendees and exhibitors at this medical trade show have an opportunity to connect with manufacturers, service providers, clinicians, procurement professionals, dealers, and distributors.
Attendees: 55,000 Exhibitors: 4,250 Ratio: 13 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Anaheim, CA, United States of America) As the largest three-day medtech conference in North America, MD&M West gathers thousands of professionals in the global manufacturing community to find technology, education, and partners to grow their businesses and achieve international expansion. Suppliers demonstrate solutions in medical device components, manufacturing equipment, contract manufacturing, biotechnology, R&D, automation materials, plastics, adhesives, and electronic components.
Attendees: 19,000 Exhibitors: 1,900 Ratio: 10 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(New York, NY, United States of America) Eyecare, eyewear, education, fashion, and innovation combine under one roof at Vision Expo East, a comprehensive event for ophthalmic professionals. Attendees can experience offerings such as the Global Contact Lens Forum, the Leadership Forum, and the Innovation Series. Attendees have an opportunity to understand recent industry advances, and network with industry professionals from across sectors to help grow attendees’ businesses and improve patient care.
Attendees: 15,000 Exhibitors: 7,000 Ratio: 2 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(São Paulo, Brazil) Hospitalar has been one of the top medical trade shows for over 25 years, for both local and foreign markets. The fair provides an ideal platform to launch new products, as well as present solutions and services for hospitals, innovators, drugstores, laboratories, private practices, and clinics. Exhibitors have an opportunity to showcase products and innovations in front of thousands of healthcare professionals.
Attendees: 90,000 Exhibitors: 1,200 Ratio: 75 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Shanghai, China) The World Dental Congress (WDC) is a flagship event for Federation Dental International (FDI), supporting collaboration within the global oral health community. WDC offers a comprehensive scientific program; forums covering the most relevant topics in dentistry; and an extensive dental exhibition, allowing exhibitors and attendees to connect with leaders in the oral health profession from around the world.
Attendees: 17,000 Exhibitors: 1,880 Ratio: 9 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
International Software and Digital Media Trade Shows
(Bangalore, India) Creators, enablers, integrators, and customers congregate at the IoT (Internet of Things) Show in India. Exhibitors include IoT networking/connectivity hardware suppliers, cloud solution providers, IoT AI & deep learning solution providers, software tools for analytics & BI solutions developers, and IT infrastructure providers. One of the show’s initiatives includes highlighting the roles of women in technology; at last year’s show, 20% of speakers were women (as opposed to 8-10% at many other tech events).
Attendees: 8,800 Exhibitors: 150 Ratio: 58 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(London, United Kingdom) TTE is Europe’s most prominent event for travel industry professionals searching for technology solutions in reservation systems, data management and analytics, expense management, e-commerce, and a multitude of other areas. The event brings together experts in IT, commercial management, and marketing who need new ideas to help jump start and develop their businesses’ potential.
Attendees: 5,000 Exhibitors: 90 Ratio: 55 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Munich, Germany) In 2020, the Internet World Expo will be the anchor event of Commerce Week Munich – an entire week of events focusing on the future of commerce. Attendees and exhibitors will meet and present solutions to a specialist audience of over 20,000 visitors from Germany, Europe, and all over the globe. Examples of products showcased will include payment systems, e-commerce services, and online marketing; forums will include information on Google, Amazon, and Facebook.
Attendees: 20,000 Exhibitors: 450 Ratio: 44 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Las Vegas, NV, United States of America) The NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Show is a global event drawing together key figures and organizations in media, entertainment, and technology. Attendees include professionals looking for new and innovative ways to create, manage, deliver, and monetize content on any platform. Participating industries include audio, advertising, radio, television, social media, VR, education, government and military, and much more. One of the key focuses in 2020 will be on new distribution technologies.
Attendees: 90,000 Exhibitors: 1,600 Ratio: 56 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
(Los Angeles, CA, United States of America) E3 is a major trade show for computers, video games, and related products. It serves as a platform for new product launches and technology introductions from major and upcoming gaming companies. Providing exposure for attendees to the entire video game industry, E3 connects both new and existing partners, including industry executives, gamers, and social influencers.
Attendees: 69,200 Exhibitors: 200 Ratio: 345 Attendees/Exhibitor (Approximate Values)
Canadian Government Funding for Trade Shows in 2020
Accessing government funding for trade shows is essential to maximize your export marketing efforts. By applying for government grants, companies can reduce trade show costs such as travel, lodging, booth rental, and marketing material translation.
When used strategically, these funds can greatly improve the impact of your next international trade show.
CanExport: Canadian Government Grants for Exporting
One of the funding programs your business may be able to use is CanExport. CanExport is a Canadian government grant designed to support the export marketing and international expansion activities of up to 1,000 businesses per year.
- Amount: Up to 75% of eligible expenses or $75,000 in cost-matching funds per application. Two applications can be submitted per year to a maximum $99,999.
- Projects: Marketing activities in new export markets (having less than $20,000 in annual sales, or representing less than $100,000 or less than 10% of total sales, in the past year), including trade show participation, translation costs, marketing, market research, and related costs.
- Timeline: One project open at any one time. Can apply for funding year-round.
- Eligibility: 1+ years incorporated, 1-500 people on payroll, and $100k-$100M in annual, taxed revenues. The program is open to all industry sectors, including agriculture and agri-food.
Apply for Trade Show Funding in Advance of Trade Shows
When applying for government funding, businesses must keep in mind that it can take up to a month or longer to prepare a detailed application that fully and accurately demonstrates your business’ strategic exporting opportunity.
Furthermore, review of these applications can take several weeks to several months. After this time, a business may be formally approved for funding and can begin making project spends. To receive Canadian government funding for trade shows in 2020, it’s recommended that businesses begin the research and application process as soon as possible.
To learn more about funding and get started with the application process, please contact Mentor Works.
Page Updated: October 9, 2019.