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The adage, "You only have one chance to make a first impression," can be applied to businesses as well as individuals. With the average trade show visitor spending less than three seconds looking at your display, it's vital that you grab their attention. While a well thought-out and designed trade show display can help you turn that passerby into a new customer, the sheer volume of displays on the market can make it difficult to choose the one that's right for your business. This buying guide identifies the different types of trade show displays, explains how to select the correct one, and provides pricing information.

Types of Trade Show Displays

Trade show displays come in a huge range of styles, shapes, colors, and forms that are designed to meet any need or budget. The following types are among the most basic and popular.

  • Pop up: Pop-up trade show displays are a popular option because they are portable and easy to set up. Their retractable frames open up to provide a back wall on which fabrics and graphics can be placed. Options such as lights and shelves can be added for customization.
  • Panel: Like pop-up displays, panel trade show displays provide a back wall to your exhibit for displaying custom graphics, but their solid design allows for a greater variety of applications. Combine numerous panels to further expand your display versatility.
  • Table top: Table top trade show displays are a favorite among exhibitors because they provide a centralized location for a display, literature, and giveaways. Various pop-up and panel table top systems are available.
  • Literature racks: Most trade show display literature racks are collapsible and provide a space-efficient means for business owners to present brochures, pamphlets, and other printed material.
  • Banner stands: Trade show banner stands can function as a standalone unit, a supplement to a larger graphic, or in tandem to create a graphic wall. There are many kinds of banner stands including tension, retractable, and telescoping.

Choosing the Right Trade Show Display

After making the decision to participate in one or more trade shows comes the daunting task of choosing how to display your business to the public. Keeping these considerations in mind will help you choose the right exhibit for your next show.

  • Your budget: Deciding how much you can afford is a logical place to begin when buying a trade show display. Even if you only have a few hundred dollars to spend you can put together a good-looking display, new or used.
  • Available space: For those fortunate enough to ignore budget constraints, the size of your booth space still must be considered. Figure out how much space you have to work with before going out and buying that big, flashy trade show display, and remember that smaller display components like banner stands and literature racks can make for a nice layout in a small space.
  • Logistics: Don't forget to factor in how many people are working the trade show; the distance the displays need to be transported and how quickly you can obtain backup displays and materials if problems arise.

Average Trade Show Display Cost Samples

Ready to buy a trade show display for your business? The following pricing information should give you a general idea of how much your investment will cost. For an exact price quote, try out our request for quote tool and get connected to display dealers in your area.

  • Generally speaking, a trade show display can cost anywhere from several hundred to tens of thousands of dollars.
  • A pop-up trade show display costs anywhere from around $200 for a 6ft display with fabric to $1,000 for a 10' display with graphics to $5,000 or more for a 20' pop-up display with graphics.
  • For a panel trade show display, you might pay around $500 for an 8-panel "on the go" display, around $1,000 for a display with panel, wing, and header graphics, roughly $2,000 for a 10'x20' panel display with panel, wing, header graphics, and lights, and approximately $5,000 for a display kit with 2 middle panels, 2 wing panels, 2 curved headers, 3 vertical extension posts, 1 triangular table, and graphics.
  • A table top trade show display can cost as little as $50 to $100 and as much as $1,000 to $2,000 or more.
  • A literature rack trade show display costs around $50 to $250 per display.
  • A banner stand for trade show displays costs approximately $150 to $1,500 for a basic model to $2,500 to $3,500 for a digital banner.
  • Additional display show accessories include:
    • Table: $250-$1,000
    • Shelf: $100-$1,000
    • Acrylic display case: $500-$1,000
    • Lights: $50-$100 per unit
    • Podium: $50-$250
    • Table Cover: $50-$500

Overview of Pop Up Trade Show Displays

Pop up trade show booths have accordion-like frames that conveniently fold up for easy storage and transport. When they "pop up" and are fully opened these displays form freestanding curved or angled walls that can be covered with fabric, vinyl, or plastic panels that allow you to hang exhibits and/or display graphics. Many can even be outfitted with shelves, LCD monitors, and literature racks and topped with lights to really make your display stand out.

When collapsed, a 10-foot pop up trade show display fits into one or two carrying cases that can double as a podium or small table and weigh around 60-70 pounds combined. While this type of trade show display can easily be set up by a single person in around 15 minutes, it offers minimal flexibility, as the collapsible frame only locks in place to a single, predetermined size.

The most popular size for a pop up trade show booth is 10 foot, but they are also available in:

  • 4 foot
  • 6 foot
  • 8 foot
  • 20 foot

Pop up trade show booths can also display material in a number of ways, including:

  • Velcro panels, which are affixed to the frame after it has been erected.
  • A mural panel, wherein the display is printed on a mural fabric and attached to the frame, making setup even easier.
  • Photo displays, wherein photos are mounted on mural fabric (often by magnets). They are favored by these who want to display custom, large-format graphics.
  • 3D: 3D displays allow graphic panels to be arranged in such a way that they provide a 3-dimensional effect that can really catch a prospective customer's eye.

Popup Trade Show Display Sample Costs

If you're ready to buy a popup trade show display for your next exhibit, keep reading to get a better idea of how much you can expect to pay.

  • A basic 10-foot pop up display panel that includes graphics and accessories such as lights might cost approximately $2,000 to $6,000.
  • Actual prices paid by customers nationwide for pop up trade show displays include:
    • Around $3,000 by a Texas company for a 10 ft pop-up display with a custom-printed center logo, center panel with printed logo, fabric side panels, shelving, and lights plus delivery.
    • Roughly $3,500 by a California accountant for a pair of 10 foot pop up displays plus an extra set of lights, a pair of banner stands and graphics cases and three monitor cases.
    • Approximately $1,500 by a government employee in Alaska for a 10ft display plus hardware bag, 4 mural panels ,2 end panels, 2 lights, an oval display case, and shipping.
    • A table top pop up trade show display might cost around $500 to $2,500 including graphics and accessories.

Overview of Table Top Trade Show Booths

Table top trade show displays are a great way to grab the attention of potential new customers and a good choice for business owners who are looking for portable, versatile exhibits. Most commonly available in pop-up or panel designs, a table top trade show display is designed to sit atop a table at around waist height and is extremely fast and simple to set up. Whether used as your primary display or as a supplement to additional pop up or panel displays, literature racks, banner stands, and other types of displays, a table top exhibit will help your business stand out at the next trade show. This buying guide takes you through the major types of tabletop displays and provides basic pricing information.

Types of Table Top Trade Show Displays

Tabletop trade show displays are designed for easy setup and portability and some can even be configured to accommodate TV monitors, shelves, backlit graphics, and more. They are available in a number of different styles, including:

  • Pop up table top trade show displays: These have an accordion-like frame that unfolds to a set width and serve as the back wall to your exhibit. A pop up table top display usually either has a graphic printed on it or can have graphic panels attached to it.
  • Panel table top trade show displays: Panel displays are similar to pop-up displays except that they are sturdier and provide greater flexibility because their parts can be arranged in multiple ways.
  • Banner stand table top trade show displays: Banner stands can be purchased in a number of sizes and forms, including retractable, spring-back, and telescoping. They can stand alone or be combined with others to form a graphic wall.
  • Modular hybrid table top trade show displays: Difficult to categorize but certainly not difficult for passersby to miss, modular hybrid units combine numerous display components such as aluminum extrusions, tension fabric graphics, dye cut panels, banner stands, literature racks, and lighting into one unit. They are a cheaper alternative to expensive custom displays but are still portable and easy to set up.
  • 3D table top trade show displays: A 3D pop up table display will give your exhibit a unique, customizable, 3-dimensional look that's sure to grab potential customers' attention.

Average Table Top Trade Show Display Costs - Samples

If you're ready to add one or more versatile, customizable tabletop trade show displays to your business' next exhibit, the prices below should provide a better idea of how much you can expect to pay.

  • On average, a new tabletop trade show display costs around $500 to $2,000.
  • For around $500, you can get an 8 foot, pop-up table top trade show display with 2 halogen lights, 3 center graphic panels (graphics not included), 2 end panels, and 2 carrying bags.
  • An 8 foot, pop up, table top trade show display with a dye-sublimated graphic on fabric plus a carrying bag costs approximately $1,000.
  • A premium 8 foot pop up full mural (3 main panels, 2 end cap panels) table top trade show display with graphics, wheeled case, and (2) halogen lights costs around $2,000.
  • A 3D tabletop trade show display with tension fabric graphics costs around $750 to $1,250.
  • Consider adding a customized table banner/table runner (usually sold in 6x30 or 8x30 sizes) to add emphasis to your display for approximately $50 to $250 apiece.

Overview of Banner Stands

Whether your business uses a portable, easy to set up trade show display or a more customized, intricate display, a banner stand can really enhance the look and effectiveness of your exhibit. Trade show banner stands are available in a variety of styles that range from simple tension fabric designs to high-definition LCD displays. They can stand alone as accents to your display or be used in tandem to create a back wall. However you choose to use a banner stand, it is a tool that will help you to broadcast your business' brand to prospective customers and gain a leg up on the competition. This buying guide provides an overview of the basic types of display banner stands and general pricing information.

Types of Banner Stands

The many different banner display stands on the market can be divided into the following categories:

  • Retractable: Retractable banner stands, also known as roll up banner stands, are easy to set up and transport, making them a favorite among business owners who value portable trade show displays. Roll up banners function like a reverse window shade that you pull up and a telescoping pole holds the banner in place.
  • Telescoping: Telescoping banner stands have a simple, sturdy design that can be adjusted to multiple heights (some even have an adjustable width). Telescoping banners are a good choice if you're looking for a portable display that can hold different sized banners.
  • X: A very cost-effective display solution, X banner stands take their name from the frame, which when erected resembles the letter X. They have flexible arms similar to tent poles which attach to the banner with grommets and hold it tense.
  • Outdoor: Outdoor banner stands have designs similar to those for indoor use, except that they have a weighted base or other design feature that keeps them stable in the wind. Popular options for outdoor banners include teardrop and feather designs.
  • Motorized: Motorized banner stands have a motor that scrolls the display in a loop. The movement on this type of banner can really grab the attention of trade show attendees.
  • Digital: With the ability to display crystal clear, high-definition images and video accompanied by sound, digital banner stands are the next generation of trade show hardware. They do not require software (only a memory card) and fit into a transportable hard case.

Average Banner Stand Display Costs - Samples

Use the prices below to help determine how much a new banner stand will cost your business.

  • A retractable banner stand might cost around $200-$300 (for a 34" x 88" model) or around $500-$600 (for a 48" x 81" model).
  • A telescoping, vinyl banner stand costs approximately $200-$300 (42"-118" height) to $500-$600 (adjusts between 52.5" to 95" wide and 36.5" to 96" tall)
  • An X-style banner stand made of vinyl with graphics and nylon carry bag costs roughly $125 (2 feet wide x 5 feet tall) to $300 (5 feet x 8 feet).
  • An outdoor banner stand might cost around $100-$250 for a 10' teardrop design to $300-$400 for a 12' feather design to $600-$700 for a 17' weighted-bottom design.
  • A motorized banner stand that measures 20" wide x 48-72" tall (adjustable) costs approximately $300-$400 while a 7' tall, remote-controlled model costs around $700-$800.
  • A digital banner stand with a high-def 32" LCD display, remote control, and wheeled case costs around $3,000-$4,000.

Average Used Trade Show Display Costs - Samples

Use the following prices for popular trade show display types to get a rough idea of how much your used exhibit will cost.

  • Sample prices for used pop up and panel trade show displays include:
    • Roughly $500-$600 for an eight foot by ten foot display with a carrying case/podium, cover, and halogen lights.
    • Approximately $700-$800 for a 10 ft booth with black Velcro panels, lights, and wheeled travel cases.
    • Around $2,000 -$3,000 for a 20 foot display with graphics, lights, cases with podium conversion kits, repair kits, and more.
  • Used tabletop trade show displays might cost around $250-$500 for a 7 ft. x 4 ft. exhibit with lights to $750-$1,500 for a 75" x 36" display with lights and a carrying case.
  • Used banner stand trade show displays cost approximately $100-$200 for an "X" style display to $200-$300 for a 48" telescoping or retractable unit.
  • A complete, used trade show exhibit measuring 20ft x 20ft with 4 towers, interior lighting, wood plank floor and magazine rack costs around $3,000-$5,000.
  • A complete, used, modular 20 ft. trade show display costs around $4,000-$6,000.
  • A used modular trade show display with 4 towers, 1 counter, 2 workstations, 3 pedestals, and 1 stage/theater costs approximately $20,000-$30,000.
  • A 20 x 20 used trade show booth with lighting, chairs, shelving, and more costs around $10,000 to $15,000.

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