Exhibition Industry Continues to Grow Modestly
DALLAS, 2 March 2020 – The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) reports that growth of the exhibition industry continued during the fourth quarter of 2019. The CEIR Total Index, a measure of exhibition industry performance, ended the year with an impressive turnaround after three consecutive quarters of deceleration. It posted a relatively strong year-over-year gain of 2.1% (see Figure 1) even though it still slightly underperformed the overall economy as reflected in the inflation-adjusted GDP (see Figure 2).
Figure 1: Quarterly CEIR Total Index for the Overall Exhibition Industry, Year-over-Year Growth, 2011Q1-2019Q4
Figure 2: Quarterly CEIR Total Index for the Overall Exhibition Industry vs. Quarterly Real GDP, Year-over-Year Growth, 2008Q1-2019Q4
“The performance during the fourth quarter shows the resilience of the exhibition industry despite uncertainties surrounding trade negotiations with China and slowing world economy,” 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 Business Services all registered robust year-over-year gains. In contrast, Consumer Goods and Retail Trade, and Raw Materials and Science posted year-over-year declines.
All exhibition metrics in the fourth quarter posted positive year-over-year gains (Figures 3 and 4). Real revenues (nominal revenues adjusted for inflation) and attendees posted the largest increase of 4.1% and 2.5%, respectively. Net square feet (NSF) rose a modest 1.2% and exhibitors gained 0.6%.
Figure 3: Quarterly CEIR Metrics for the Overall Exhibition Industry, Year-over-Year Growth, 2019Q4
Figure 4: Quarterly CEIR Metrics for the Overall Exhibition Industry, Year-over-Year Growth, 2009-2019Q4
For the entirety of 2019, the Total Index increased by 1.2%, exactly as predicted during the 2019 CEIR Predict Conference and just 0.2 percentage point shy of the forecast of 1.4% as published in the 2019 CEIR Index Report released in April 2019.
“The performance through the fourth quarter indicates that the exhibition industry has achieved a ninth consecutive year of growth, albeit slowing growth as was forecasted by our economists in the 2019 CEIR Index Report,” said CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE, CEM. “The healthy economy bodes well for the exhibition industry in 2020, but coronavirus is a wild card that we need to deal with.”
In addition to compiling the quarterly exhibition index, CEIR also offers analytical tools, an annual in-depth report and an outlook conference. The CEIR Event Performance Analyzer provides exhibition organizers with a tool to measure how an event is performing in its sector, as well as in the overall industry. The CEIR Index Report provides an economic overview of the exhibition industry, including key indicators for growth. Together, these resources provide insights for developing business strategies and goals. The 2020 CEIR Index Report will include a three-year forecast for the business-to-business exhibitions and events industry.
The CEIR Predict Conference will be held 21-22 September 2020 at the MGM National Harbor, just outside Washington, D.C. Predict will provide insights into the performance of the exhibitions industry, and a forecast through year-end, along with an economic presentation by Alex Chausovsky of ITR Economics discussing how world events are expected to impact the global economy. Registration for the CEIR Predict Conference opens in March, stay tuned at www.ceir.org/predict.
The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (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.