The 60-year-old U.S. laboratory science exposition, The Pittsburgh Conference, is fast approaching. (February 28 – March 5, 2010. Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida) With that in mind, last month we conducted a Lab Manager Magazine Pittcon 2010 Attendance Survey in which we asked our readers to weigh in on their experience with the show and their expectations for 2010. More than 200 of you shared your attendance history, reasons for going and overall satisfaction with this important event which, according to the Pittcon website, attracts nearly 20,000 attendees from industry, academia and government from 90 countries worldwide.

For those attending Pittcon to shop for equipment, 78 percent come prepared, having researched vendors and equipment well in advance of hitting the show floor. Seventy four percent said they conduct that research via the Internet, 18 percent learn about new technologies from trade magazines and ads, 12 percent from talking to colleagues or vendor representatives, 7 percent rely on product literature, and 9 percent from a combination of all of these. When asked how they decide which vendors to visit, 43 percent of readers said it was based on product offerings. After that, vendors to visit were chosen by reputation (10%), discussions with vendor representatives (8.7%), a vendor’s website (8%), known/familiar vendor (7%), recommendation by colleagues (6%), vendor promotion (4%), and other (13%).

Thirty two percent of readers told us they set up appointments with vendors in advance of the show and when visiting those vendors, 61 percent preferred speaking with product managers. Seventeen percent said they wanted to speak with a sales representative, 11 percent with marketing managers, and the balance with technical specialists, service representatives, application scientists, and others. When asked how, if any, the value of Pittcon has changed over the past 5 to 10 years, nearly 33 percent reported no change, 29 percent said they didn’t know, 22 percent said they thought the show has decreased in value, and nearly 16 percent believe it has increased in value. When asked to explain their answers to the above question, verbatim responses ranged from, “I like being able to talk to vendors and scientists rather than getting all my info from the Internet” to “vendors I would like to talk to are no longer exhibiting.” Obviously, trade shows in general have been negatively impacted in recent years by both the economic downturn and online alternatives for researching new equipment and technologies. We`ll know just how much of an impact that has had come next February in Orlando.

For complete survey results, visit