The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) reports that performance of the exhibition industry in the third quarter of 2017, down 0.7% from a year ago, was impacted by factors related to several large exhibitions in the Consumer Goods and Retail Trade (CG) and Sporting Goods, Travel, and Amusement (ST) sectors.
The weaknesses in those events were attributable to event-specific factors not related to the overall exhibition industry or the economy, as both consumer disposable income and consumption expenditures remain strong. Excluding the CG and ST sectors, the exhibition industry gained 2.8% from a year ago.
Figure 1: Quarterly CEIR Total Index for the Overall Exhibition Industry, Year-on-Year % Change, 2011Q1-2017Q3
All exhibition metrics in the third quarter posted negative year-on-year losses, except Attendance which gained 3.4% (Figure 2). Real Revenues (nominal revenues adjusted for inflation) posed the largest decline of 3.0% whereas Exhibitors and Net Square Feet declined 2.1% and 1.1%, respectively. The results in the Attendance metric for the third quarter bodes well for the exhibition industry, as Attendance is a leading indicator.
Figure 2: Quarterly CEIR Metrics for the Overall Exhibition Industry, Year-on-Year % Change, 2017Q3
“The decline was a temporary setback as 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. Shaw further notes, “In looking at performance of the industry cumulatively from Q1 through Q3, all metrics remain in positive territory. Even with the negative performance in Q3, the overall Index growth for the first three quarters still achieved a moderate 1.6% growth rate (Figure 3). Nonetheless, the exhibition industry lagged U.S. GDP growth of 2.2% during the same period.”
CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE added, “While the results of the third quarter might appear dire, it is important to keep in mind that without the outliers, the exhibition industry gained 2.8% over a year ago. Our industry is still forecast to grow through year-end.”
Figure 3: CEIR Metrics for the Overall Exhibition Industry, Year-on-Year % Change, 2017 Cumulative Q1 Through Q3
CEIR serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering knowledge-based research tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position. For additional information, visit www.ceir.org.