by Matt Alderton | June 14, 2019
Although it underperformed compared to the larger economy, the exhibition industry continued to expand during the first quarter of 2019, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, which this week published the first-quarter results of its periodic CEIR Index research report.
According to CEIR's data, the exhibition industry posted a "decent" year-over-year gain of 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2019. By comparison, the  U.S. gross domestic product grew by 3.2 percent.

"The performance during the first quarter shows the resilience of the exhibition industry despite a government shutdown through most of January and uncertainties surrounding trade negotiations with China and slowing world economic growth," said CEIR economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., chief economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates Inc.

The CEIR Index measures year-over-year performance in four industry metrics, three of which saw growth in the first quarter: revenues, which grew by 4.1 percent; net square feet of exhibit space, which grew by 1.5 percent; and attendance, which increased by 2.2 percent. Only one metric, the number of exhibitors, declined, falling by 0.4 percent.

CEIR also reported performance for exhibitions across 14 industry sectors. Strong performers included sectors in food; raw materials; science; and building, construction, home and repair. Weak performers included the consumer goods and retail trade sector and the discretionary consumer goods and services sector.

Said CEIR CEO Cathy Breden: "The growth during the first quarter indicates that the exhibition industry is on track to register a ninth consecutive year of growth, albeit slowing growth."