• Larry Kulchawik

Budgeting for International Trade Shows

Updated: Jan 24, 2018

International Trade Show Budgets- Can really Fluctuate!


You have decided to expand your trade show presence beyond the North American borders. You have a great exhibit design that you want to replicate across the globe. Now you need to know how to budget appropriately for each location, taking into consideration both quality expectations and local production standards and pricing.


There are not a lot of resources on the web examining this topic. There is also not a good standard rule of thumb to follow, which really can make budgeting tricky when you have never been to a particular location. However, over the last few years I’ve managed to put a few loose guidelines together, which will give you a start toward proper expectations. Just keep in mind there are always exceptions and that the guidelines below assume an equal quality level to the United States. Also, just as in the US, material choices can easily change these numbers one way or the other.


Europe – Budgeting for Europe is relatively similar to that of the United States. For example, we are currently producing the same exhibit in Germany as we did in Las Vegas a couple of months ago. The size of the space is 30x50, including a double deck structure, and the build cost in Europe was approximately $25,000.00 less, which is about a 12% savings. However, services costs were slightly higher for AV, installation and dismantle and freight, based on the build location vs. the actual show location. So, if you look at your total budget you will spend close to the same amount of money in Europe as you do in the US. It will just be allocated slightly differently.


Asia – There is a lot of fluctuation from country to country in this continent. Building in China is significantly cheaper than the US, even with a higher quality level than is standard. I’ve seen pricing as great as 60% lower than the same build in the US, but average it closer to around 40%. Japan, however, tends to be slightly more expensive than the US on quite a few items, while Singapore, Taiwan and Korea are all still less than the US, but not quite as low as China. I would budget approximately 30% lower for those countries.


Middle East, India and Russia – Pricing in these three regions are fairly similar. It is a struggle to find a company to do US quality work. Therefore, when you do, expect the pricing to be higher than with just any standard local company. Standard local level build pricing is usually on par with a higher quality Chinese build, which is 40% lower, and higher end build pricing is approximately 25%-30% lower. Renting AV in these areas is relatively inexpensive, however, if you need something very high end or specific, plan to actually purchase it at a higher price than you would pay in the US.


South Africa, South America and Mexico – All of these regions are approximately the same. Plan on spending about 40% - 50% less than the US for the build and services together. Again, though, AV here is quite high if you require something specific. Assume you’ll have to purchase if you want a specific brand of monitor or something higher end. So keep that in mind when budgeting


Australia – Budgeting for Australia is a surprise to most. Consider the “land down under” to be right in line with your expectations for the US. You might grab a savings here and there, but overall, we’re pretty similar!


Hopefully, this has given you a good baseline in budgeting for your next global show. Keep in mind, also, that reaching out to an experienced exhibit partner for guidance is a great option when it comes to determining your international budget strategy.


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