by Michael C. Lowe | February 06, 2012

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research has released an update to its 2009 report, The Spend Decision: Analyzing How Exhibits Fit Into the Overall Marketing Budget. The update provides an analysis of the changes and trends in the exhibition industry over the past several years, how the economy has impacted the global industry and the outlook for the near future. "Results point to a resiliency of the business-to-business exhibition industry," said Nancy Drapeau, CEIR research director, in a statement. "Starting in 2010, the percentage [of marketing funds allocated to business-to-business exhibits] increased to 40.2 percent compared to 33.9 percent in 2009 and has held at this higher level, with a 39.2 percent allocation in 2011. It is a testament to the high value marketers place on participating in these events." Although the findings appear optimistic, the survey did reveal that the economy has had negative effects on the industry. While percentage allocation to business-to-business exhibitions increased from 2009, overall spending is flat or a little down due to decreased marketing budgets. The median spending per exhibition was $17,708 in 2011 compared with $18,500 in 2009. However, recovery in other areas, like event participation, is apparent. In 2009, event participation hit a low with a median of eight events per year, down from a high of 14 in 2008 and 2007. In 2010, the median number of exhibitions increased to nine and is expected to hold at this level through 2012. Meanwhile, median booth size declined to 200 square feet in 2009 and is expected to remain at that size through 2012. The median in 2008 and 2007 was 300 square feet. The results came from a survey completed in September 2011 by almost 300 marketing executives at companies with a minimum of $10 million in annual revenues, and who exhibited in at least one business-to-business exhibition in the past two years.