Exhibition Industry Rebounds, Says CEIR Report

The exhibition industry resumed its growth in the first quarter of this year, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research. The success follows a temporary setback reported by CEIR in the fourth quarter of 2016.

As measured by the CEIR Total Index, the industry's performance was 1.6 percent higher than it was in the first quarter last year. That follows the 0.3 percent drop the industry experienced in the last quarter of 2016; though slight, it was the first decrease the Total Index had realized in more than six years, since the second quarter of 2010.

"The increase in the first quarter validates 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.

That said, the Total Index growth still lagged real GDP growth, which saw a 2 percent year-over-year increase for the quarter.  

Robust year-over-year gains were reported for exhibitions in several sectors, including food; building, construction and home repair; communications and information technology, and government. On the other hand, declines were reported for education and nonprofit; consumer goods and retail trade, and business services. The raw materials and science sector, which was the weakest in 2016, is showing signs of stabilization, as attendance has rebounded.

The CEIR Index Report revealed year-over-year industry growth in a number of areas for Q1, including net square feet (2 percent), exhibitors (0.3 percent), attendees (1.7 percent) and real revenues (2.3 percent). 

"I am pleased to see attendance rebound in Q1 and am optimistic both attendance and the CEIR Total Index will continue to grow, despite uncertainty in the marketplace," said CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE.

The full CEIR Index Report provides percentage changes going back to 2013, forecasts for the rest of this year through 2019, market-size estimates and more. It can be purchased here for $1,000 or $750 for members.