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The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) reports that growth of the exhibition industry during the fourth quarter of 2017 resumed after a temporary setback in the third quarter. The performance of the industry, as measured by the CEIR Total Index, posted a strong year-on-year gain of 3.1% (see Figure 1). Despite displaying somewhat greater volatility, exhibitions are keeping pace with the macroeconomy (see Figure 2).

Figure 1: Quarterly CEIR Total Index for the Overall Exhibition Industry, Year-on-Year Growth, 2011Q1-2017Q4

CEIR 2017Q4 Index Results Figure 1

Figure 2: Quarterly CEIR Total Index for the Overall Exhibition Industry vs. Quarterly Real GDP, Year-on-Year Growth, 2008Q1-2017Q4

CEIR 2017Q4 Index Results Figure 2

"The increase in the fourth quarter supports our prediction that economic fundamentals still point to moderate growth for the exhibition industry," said CEIR Economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., Chief Economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc.

Discretionary Consumer Goods and Services; Industrial/Heavy Machinery and Finished Business Inputs; and Building, Construction, Home and Repair sectors all registered robust year-on-year gains. In contrast, Consumer Goods and Retail Trade; Government; and Raw Materials and Science sectors posted year-on-year declines.

All exhibition metrics in the fourth quarter posted positive year-on-year gains (Figures 3 and 4).  Real revenues (nominal revenues adjusted for inflation) posted the largest increase of 5.0%, followed by exhibitors which rose 3.4%, whereas net square feet and attendees gained 2.5% and 1.5%, respectively.

Figure 3: Quarterly CEIR Metrics for the Overall Exhibition Industry, Year-on-Year Growth, 2017Q4

CEIR 2017Q4 Index Results Figure 3

Figure 4: Quarterly CEIR Metrics for the Overall Exhibition Industry, Year-on-Year Growth, 2009-2017Q4

CEIR 2017Q4 Index Results Figure 4

“When looking at the quarterly results for real revenue, one has to keep in mind perspective,” said CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CAE. CMP. “During the Great Recession, real revenue suffered the biggest decline among four metrics. The big fall naturally leads to a big rebound. As such, real revenue has experienced the largest recovery during the past seven years. Nonetheless, real revenue in 2017 – $10.29 billion – was still 3% below the peak in 2007. In addition, revenue per NSF in 2017 was still below the 2007 level.”

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 www.ceir.org.

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