With trade shows cancelled, what is next for the industry?

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With a number of high-profile trade shows cancelled in 2020, what is the future?


Trade shows have originally been created to bring together various buyers and retailers from different backgrounds. Visitors can take a glance at products, learn about new and current trends emerging within their specified sector, have the opportunity to create and build on their business network, gain product knowledge, attend seminars and gain inspiration that will support their business.

However, with the growing outbreak of COVID-19, a restriction of travel and the gathering of large number of people have led to a cancellation of many trade shows for the rest of 2020:

  • Fashion London SVP
  • Pure London and Pure Origin
  • Autumn Fair
  • Top Drawer London (moved to virtual)
  • The Housewares Show

Whilst there are some positive signs of the economy recovering and lockdown rules being gradually relaxed, the question remains how can retail buyers and brands remain connected in a post-COVID-19 world?

Top Drawer trade show. Image credit: Olympia London


With trade shows being cancelled, organisers have been quick to adapt to the current situation and are providing alternative experiences to buyers and sellers. One of these are virtual trade shows & seminars, offered by some of the show organisers.

For instance, Hyve Fashion London that brings together Pure London, Pure Origin, Scoop, and Jacket are launching and all-online forum namely Fashion Together ( Hyve Fashion London that brings together Pure London, Pure Origin, Scoop and Jacket that has re-schedule its shows to February 2021 for AW 20/21), in early September. This platform aims to bridge the connection between stakeholders and will focus on providing advice and education through exclusive seminars.

Another popular trade show, Top Drawer London, announced that their show will be held virtually in September 2020.

Virtual trade shows can be a great (and much needed) alternatives to traditional shows. Whilst simple in functionality (lack of transactions / ordering capability is an obvious one) they can still provide value for both sides as a platform for buyers and sellers to interact with each other.


The wholesale business has seen a significant rise in the online B2B wholesale marketplaces, which bring together the benefits of trade shows and the convenience of online shopping platforms.

These platforms are digitising the traditional wholesale workflows, primarily based on in-person transactions carried out at trade shows, as well phones and spreadsheets. Just like Amazon, Etsy and Farfetch have disrupted consumer shopping, the new crop of online wholesale marketplaces are making wholesale purchasing equally simple, online and quick.

Trayde - UK Online Wholesale Marketplace

Here are some of the marketplaces we have seen so far:

  • Faire, a US-based wholesale marketplace, provides a broad product assortment, including home decor, accessories, jewellery, stationary extensively across North America.
  • In Canada, Hubba provides a B2B marketplace, focusing mainly on food brands and retailers.
  • Tundra is another wholesale marketplace offering broad product selection from Canadian and US brands.
  • To cater for the UK market, Trayde has recently launched in an extraordinary time, providing a curated wholesale platform for retailers and brands. Aiming to provide a convenient and cost-effective alternative to trade shows, Trayde offers a growing range of products from local brands - many of which deliver eco-friendly, ethical and handmade merchandise.

Reshaping the industry, the online marketplace is a seamless process performing as a time-saver, diminishing the extra step of having to travel to buyers as well as minimising a retailer's risk of holding a large amount of stock. During a pandemic world, Trade shows, digital platforms and online wholesalers are a great way to reconnect with buyers and sellers!

Are you a UK brand or retailer and interested in joining Trayde? Click here for more information!

Written by
Jahnavi Jethani