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Today, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) released the 2016 CEIR Index Report. The CEIR Index analyzes the 2015 exhibition industry and provides a future outlook for the next three years. Despite widespread pessimism and deceleration of activity during the fourth quarter, the U.S. economy still displayed significant signs of strength in 2015, led by personal consumption and residential construction. These strengths were offset partially by deterioration in energy development and net exports to produce real GDP growth of 2.4%. According to CEIR’s current projection, 2016 growth will be about the same, or perhaps slightly weaker as the trade gap widens further, before GDP accelerates in 2018 (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Annual Real GDP Growth

GDP growth in the next few years will be sustained by the consumer and private business sectors, as government expenditures will make only small contributions to growth in the foreseeable future. Growth ultimately will be helped by stabilization in energy investment and net exports.

In line with expectations presented at the 2015 CEIR Predict Conference, the Total index increased in and all four metrics rose as well.

Leading sectors were Industrial/Heavy Machinery and Finished Business Inputs (ID) and Building, Construction, Home and Repair (HM). Both benefited from rebounds in home construction and auto sales. The Government (GV) sector lagged as government entities at all levels and functions continued to face tight budgets, particularly for training, education and travel.

"Economic and job growth should continue to drive expansion in the exhibition industry," noted CEIR    Economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., Chief Economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc. “However, the ID and HM sectors will grow more in line with their macroeconomic fundamentals. As a result of their deceleration, the overall CEIR index will slow to 2.4%, 1.3 percentage points lower than the 2015 rate but still a 0.1 percentage point higher than real GDP. Growth will accelerate to 2.7% in 2017 and 3.0% in 2018 as the economy strengthens. This performance represents the fastest sustained growth in the history of the CEIR index. By 2018, the Total index of the overall exhibition industry is expected to climb above its previous peak in 2007 by about 3.5%.”

The HM, ID, Communications and Information Technology (IT), and Transportation (TX) sectors will be driven by the expansion of housing, auto sales and business fixed investment and should post the highest growth. Consumer-related exhibitions (Discretionary Consumer Goods and Services (CS); Food (FD); and Sporting Goods, Travel and Amusement (ST)) will continue to benefit from strengthening household discretionary expenditures.

Despite the collapse in oil prices, the Raw Materials and Science (RM) sector exhibitions grew 2015. The off-shore oil production and drilling related events fared relatively well. Nonetheless, the sector may be weaker in 2016, as the impact of low oil prices should start to kick in.

As an objective measure of the annual performance of the exhibition industry, the CEIR index measures year-over-year changes in four key metrics to determine overall performance: net square feet (NSF) of exhibit space sold; professional attendance; number of exhibiting companies; and gross revenue. The CEIR index provides data on exhibition industry performance across 14 key industry sectors: Business Services (BZ); Consumer Goods (CG); Discretionary Consumer Goods and Services (CS); Education (ED); Food (FD); Financial, Legal and Real Estate (FN); Government (GV); Building, Construction, Home and Repair (HM); Industrial/Heavy Machinery and Finished Business Outputs (ID); Communications and Information Technology (IT); Medical and Health Care (MD); Raw Materials and Science (RM); Sporting Goods, Travel and Entertainment (ST); and Transportation (TX). Click here for information on how to purchase the complete 2016 CEIR Index Report. Users may also purchase the 2015 CEIR Index and 2016 CEIR Index as package here.

After its initial release, a forecast update of the CEIR Index will be presented at the CEIR Predict conference on 14-15 September 2016 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. For more information about CEIR Predict, visit www.ceir.org/predict.

“This will be our sixth annual Predict conference and we are eager to share new information and perspectives that industry executives have come to rely on from CEIR,” said CEIR President & CEO Brian Casey, CEM. “The data from the latest CEIR Index, combined with the knowledge of guest economist Dan Altman, will provide attendees with an excellent predictive edge with their future strategic planning and business development.”

CEIR sincerely appreciates the support it has received from this year’s Predict sponsors:

Partner Sponsors:

  • Freeman
  • Global Experience Specialists (GES)

Collaborator Sponsors:

  • International Association of Exhibitions and Events™
  • McCormick Place

Associate Sponsors:

  • CNTV
  • Experient
  • Fern
  • National Trade Productions
  • New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau

Contributor Sponsors:

  • 4imprint
  • A2z, Inc.
  • Access Intelligence
  • Choose Chicago
  • CMAC
  • CORT Furniture
  • Georgia World Congress Center
  • Oscar & Associates, Inc.

For more information about the CEIR Index or CEIR Predict, contact Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP or call +1 (972) 687-9201.

About CEIR
CEIR provides industry-leading research on the North American exhibitions and events industry globally which optimizes performance, increases engagement and addresses emerging customer needs. For additional information, visit www.ceir.org.

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Media Inquiries:
Mary Tucker
+1 (972) 687-9226
mtucker@ceir.org