The Center for Exhibition Industry Research last month reported that the industry grew by 1.8 percent in 2014, year-over-year, slightly below the 2 percent that was forecasted.
The four metrics that CEIR tracks saw positive gains: Net square footage grew by 2 percent, the number of exhibitors increased by 1.6 percent and real revenues rose by 1.9 percent. Attendance, which was up 1.7 percent over 2013, exceeded its previous peak of 68.4 million in 2007, reaching 68.9 million.
Because attendance is a leading indicator, industry officials see this as a positive sign for years to come. In 2015, exhibitions are expected to grow by 2.8 percent overall, while in 2016 and 2017, CEIR predicts increases of 2.4 and 2 percent, respectively.