CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023 breaks records, gears up for 2026
By Jenny LescohierMarch 20, 2023
CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023 wrapped up late last week, breaking attendance records while shining a bright light on technology and removing any doubt in the return of live events in a post-pandemic world clearly ready to once again do business face to face.
The show crushed expected attendance numbers, drawing over 139,000 construction and fluid power professionals from 133 countries to Las Vegas from March 14 – 18 – reinforcing its title as the largest trade show in North America.
The triennial event hosted 2,400 exhibitors from 36 countries spread out over 3 million square feet of exhibit space.
“The innovations in the construction industry unveiled [last] week will play a role in helping construction professionals drive meaningful and sustainable economic growth,” said Phil Kelliher, Caterpillar senior vice president and CONEXPO-CON/AGG show chair.
“Live events in the construction industry are very important, because you can see, touch and experience the products. That value was reaffirmed this past week across the show floor.”
CONEXPO-CON/AGG & IFPE 2023 by the numbers
- 3+ million net square feet of exhibits (10.5% larger than 2020)
- 139,000+ registered attendees (6% increase over 2020)
- 2400+ exhibitors, from 36 countries, including 603 new-to-the-show exhibitors
- 24,000+ international registered attendees from 133 countries
- 91,000+ scans of badges to access the 190 education sessions
- 600+ global media from 33 countries
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), show organizer, reported it was pleased with pre-registrations going into the show, and was excited about traffic on the grounds during the event.
“Leading up to the show, we were pacing right on track with our 2020 attendance numbers, which was just over 130,000, so we were extremely positive,” Dana Wuesthoff, AEM vice president, exhibitions & event services, said during the event. “We’re extremely happy and obviously, just looking around, there are just so many people; it’s busy all over the place.”
Wuesthoff pointed to two new successful features at the 2023 event - The Community Zone and the Next Level Awards program.
The Community Zone was located outside in the Festival Lot, serving as a place for attendees to sit down, connect with peers, network with suppliers and/or plan their attack for booth visits.
“The attendees I talked to loved it,” she said. “They came in, sat down, gave their feet a break, and they really enjoyed the different people we had speaking. I certainly think this was a success for us.”
The Next Level Awards program was also new and sparked interest among attendees.
“People were very excited that our 10 finalists were here on site, and we’ve seen lots of votes come in. We’re excited to see how that turns out,” Wuesthoff said last week.
Since then, it’s been announced that Holcim’s ECOPact low-carbon concrete was chosen as the Contractors’ Choice winner.
Wuesthoff added, “The new features of the show were based off of feedback we got from attendees and exhibitors from past shows. Both attendees and exhibitors have asked for an awards program. They want to engage and be able to make make their voices heard.”
Live events are back with a bang
CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 took place during a very frightening time, as the world grappled with the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. AEM canceled the last day of the show, and those in attendance recall the swiftness with which people scrambled to leave Las Vegas that week. Only a day or two after the show closed, the streets of the city were eerily and uncharacteristically empty.
Thankfully, three years have put things back in order, as CONEXPO-CON/AGG - and Las Vegas too - have bounced back, bigger and better than ever.
“There really is a feeling of excitement at the show,” Wuesthoff noted during the week of the event. “Booths are packed and I’m seeing attendees and exhibitors having amazing conversations. Then I go over to the Community Zone and I see so many attendees networking with one another, or sitting down with their show map spread out. It’s really great to see.”
Wuesthoff says it speaks volumes to the importance the construction and fluid power industries put on connecting in person.
“We are an industry of people who want to meet face to face,” she said. “Attendees have spoken, loud and clear, that they want to experience the equipment, they want to see it, they want to touch it and feel it; they want to shake hands, they want to look in the eyes of the person who designed it or built it.
“Three years ago, no one knew what was going to happen. We were all going into the unknown together. Soon after, a lot of people wondered if face-to-face events would be replaced by digital interaction, but for our industry, I think all you have to do is look around to see meeting in person remains a priority. It’s valuable and it cannot be replaced.”
Technology and the future of tradeshows
Nearly every new product announcement during the show - and certainly the news from every major construction equipment manufacturer - centered on some aspect
of the rapidly advancing technology taking hold in construction. Whether it was a new electric earthmover, alternative fuels or autonomous machines, technology was such a hot topic, it leaves one wondering where things will go over the next three years. How will the show itself be different in 2026 and beyond?
“I think CONEXPO-CON/AGG will continue to evolve the way the industry itself is evolving,” Wuesthoff predicted. “It might be in the form of someone remotely operating a piece of equipment from a tradeshow booth. In that case, will exhibitors continue to bring as much equipment? Is there going to be a different way to experience technology? I think the answers will be different depending upon the brand and type of equipment, and frankly will depend on what the end-user wants.
“We’re certainly keeping our finger on the pulse of that and will continue to make sure we’re staying ahead of the curve and meeting the needs of attendees as the industry and events evolve.”
What’s next for CONEXPO-CON/AGG in 2026?
Believe it or not, planning for CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2026 began about a year and a half ago.
“In a way, the planning never stops. It won’t be too much longer before we’re talking about 2029. There’s no rest for the weary,” said Wuesthoff.
“Of course we’re looking forward to coming back to Las Vegas, hopefully once again, bigger and better than ever. We’re always looking for ways we can make the show better, areas we can improve. As we’re here on site, we’re looking at those things, and trying to figure out how to deliver an even better experience and more value to the event in the future.”
The next CONEXPO-CON/AGG & IFPE will be held March 3-7, 2026, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.