The exhibition industry posted a strong rebound in 2011, finishing 15% higher than forecast to expand 2.7% year-over-year, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) Index released in March 2012. The positive growth brought to an end 3 consecutive years of decline, and reflects growth in all 4 metrics of measurement (real revenues, net square feet, attendees, and exhibitors). Additionally, the Index is projected to sustain its rise, forecast to climb 2.9% in 2012, 3.2% in 2013, and 3.4% in 2014.
Real revenues demonstrated the biggest turnaround of the 4 metrics measured. After declining by 9.6% in 2009 and 8.4% in 2010, real revenues rose 2.3% last year. That growth is expected to increase to 2.7% this year, 3.3% in 2013, and 3.6% in 2014. According to a CEIR survey released in February 2012, B2B exhibitions received on average of 39.2% of respondents’ marketing dollars in 2011, with those spending more than half of their marketing dollars allocating on average 64% of their budgets to this channel. The survey required marketers to have participated in at least one B2B exhibition in the past 2 years.
Meanwhile, according to the CEIR Index, also rebounding from a decline in 2010 was net square feet of exhibit space sold, up 2.7% after decreasing 2.1% in 2010. The number of exhibitors also posted a turnaround, up 2.3% year-over-year after falling 1.1% in 2010. The number of attendees increased 3.4% on the back of 2.4% growth in 2010.
The CEIR report reveals varied growth across sectors. Government grew 7%, while business process-related exhibitions, including machinery and finished business outputs (11.2%), communication and IT (8.1%), and transportation (5.7%) were also among the fastest-growing. By contrast, building, construction, and home repair (-5.3%), and sporting goods, travel, and amusement (-0.8%) all declined, while medical and health care (0.2%) experienced only marginal growth.
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