by Alex Palmer | December 19, 2018
The Center for Exhibition Industry Research reported that the exhibition industry's growth has slowed over the third quarter of 2018, posting a year-over-year gain of 1 percent, according to the CEIR Total Index. This is lower than the previous three quarters measured: This year's second quarter experienced 1.6 percent growth, the third quarter, 1.8 percent and the fourth quarter of 2017 enjoyed gains of 2.8 percent.
But the latest findings reflected an improvement compared with the same quarter in 2017, which saw a year-over-year decline of 0.2 percent.
 
"The growth of the exhibition industry should pick up the pace during the fourth quarter of the year and, at least, through the first half of next year, as the economy remains strong despite uncertainties surrounding the trade negotiation with China, a volatile stock market and slowing world economic growth," said CEIR economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., chief economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates Inc.
 
Other component values measured by the CEIR Index showed slowing growth in key areas, as well. Net square feet rose by 0.6 percent, compared with 1.8 percent last quarter, while attendees increased by 1.1 percent, compared with 1.9 percent in the previous quarter. Exhibitors showed modest growth of 0.1 percent, compared with 0.7 percent in the second quarter of 2018. Real revenues (nominal revenues adjusted for inflation) grew by 2.4 percent, more robust than last quarter's 1.9 percent increase.
 
The industry sectors of medical/health care, government, and discretionary consumer goods and services all posted strong year-over-year gains. But business services, education and consumer goods/retail trade all reported declines.
 
"Anemic growth in the number of exhibitors is in part attributable to secular downward trends evidenced in these sectors," said CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE. "Barring any other negative downward trends in the economy, and until these sectors stabilize, the overall growth for the industry will remain modest."