New CEIR Report on Trends in Use of Exhibitions Points to Resiliency



DALLAS, 8 November – Today, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) issued the fifth report from The Role and Value of Face-to-Face Interaction Study Series titled Trends in Use of Exhibitions. This report provides a snapshot of the use and motivations for attending and exhibiting at business-to-business exhibitions. This 12-page report provides an in-depth look at attendee and exhibitor use of exhibitions, including frequency, reasons for participating and projected use in the near future.

CEIR Research Director Nancy Drapeau, PRC, said, “Attendee and exhibitor practices today, as well as their expected participation in the near-term, points to the resiliency and enduring value of business-to-business exhibitions. Despite economic challenges and alternative marketing options, these professionals use and value exhibitions and plan to do so in the next two years.”

Key findings of note:

Attendee results:

  • When comparing attendance to business-to-business exhibitions and private events, attendees favor exhibitions. They attend an average of 3.4 exhibitions annually compared to 2.6 private events.
  • Results suggest attendance will continue to grow in the next two years. Six out of 10 attendees will go to the same number of exhibitions as they are attending today while 23 percent plan to attend more.
  • The search for new products continues to be the primary driver to attend (80 percent).

Exhibitor results:

  • Seventy-eight percent of exhibiting companies participate in more than two exhibitions each year, with a median of five per year.
  • Results suggest a modest rebound will continue in the next two years, driven by companies adding events to their schedule. Most exhibitors, 44 percent, are participating in the same number of exhibitions as they did two years ago. And looking to the next two years, over half, 53 percent will hold to current participation levels while an additional 24 percent will add more exhibitions to their schedule.
  • For exhibitors planning to add exhibitions in the near-term, driving business growth is the primary reason.

The Role and Value of Face-to-Face Interaction study series examines the long-term value of face-to-face marketing and exhibitions in particular in light of major economic fluctuations and the influx of technology and alternative marketing tactics, including digital media. More than 9,000 attendees and 800 exhibitors participated in this initiative. The study was made possible by a grant from the Exhibition Industry Foundation and is available at

IAEE members can access the CEIR library and reports at no cost – a benefit of IAEE membership.

About CEIR
CEIR serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering knowledge-based research tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position. For additional information, visit


Media Contact:
Susan Brower, CMM, CCP
+1 (972) 687-9207