Exhibitions and conferences involve different types of input and fulfill different functions for the organisations taking part in them. For example, exhibitions tend to be marketing-driven and entrepreneurial in approach, while conferences have traditionally been knowledge-driven and more conservative. Only in recent years have conferences started to incorporate the showier multidimensional techniques of exhibitions.


The different ways they disseminate information are important:

  • An exhibition is an event, or marketplace, where one or more sellers display their goods and services to a group of buyers.
  • conference is a meeting with an organised agenda for delegates who have common education, communication or networking objectives.


Exhibitions can be classified into two general types: trade exhibitions and consumer exhibitions.

Trade Exhibitions

Trade exhibitions are generally designed to meet the needs of one particular type of business or product or country. Only people involved in the field are invited to attend and the general public is rarely admitted.

Consumer Exhibitions

Consumer exhibitions are horizontal markets. They usually involve a range of products from a number of different industries on display to the general public. Examples of this kind of event are home, boat and travel shows. Consumer shows may also be designed to attract a particular demographic (young women, retirees) or people with a specific hobby or interest (craft, gardening, pets).
Shows may be built around a particular product or service (car shows, boat shows, computer shows, travel shows) or a particular theme (homemaking).

An excerpt from: Exhibitions: A Complete Guide
by Gary-Fitz-Roy

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