The CEIR Index, which is available for download at www.ceir.org, projected the overall industry would grow 2.4% this year, up 1.2% from the 2016 rate. The upward trend is expected to pick up momentum to 2.8% growth in 2018 and 3.0% 2019.
“Economic and job growth should continue to drive expansion in all four of the exhibition metrics through the forecast period," said CEIR Economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., who is also Chief Economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc.
Three of the four CEIR metrics – net square feet (NSF) of exhibit space sold, number of exhibiting companies and gross revenue – increased last year; however, professional attendance was flat, a situation attributed to declines in attendance at shows in the Raw Materials and Science (RM) sector. By contrast, the strongest overall performances were registered in the Food (FD) and Building, Construction, Home and Repair (HM) sectors. The result was a 1.2% overall growth rate, which was 1.1% lower than the 2015 rate.
Shaw said improving employment and consumer spending in 2017 would accelerate U.S. economic growth beyond last year’s 1.6% GDP growth, which would help stoke the entire trade show industry. “Despite a decline in 2016, ID and RM will grow more in line with their macroeconomic drivers,” he said. “Their rebounds will help to push the overall CEIR Index growth to 2.4%, 1.2 percentage points higher than the 2016 rate but still 0.1 percentage point lower than real GDP growth.”
A more pessimistic outlook is in store for the Education (ED) and Government (GV) sectors due to assumptions that government hiring and services will remain suppressed, although the development of new technology, safety and logistics offered by exhibitors in those two sectors could offset some declines.
An updated forcast of the 2017 CEIR Index will be available at the CEIR Predict conference in Washington on September 14-15. Registration information is available at www.ceir.org/predict. “This will be our seventh annual Predict conference and we are eager to share new information and perspectives that industry executives have come to rely on from CEIR,” said CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP. “The data from the latest CEIR Index, combined with the knowledge of guest economists and other forward looking sessions will provide attendees with an excellent predictive edge to use in their future strategic planning and business development efforts.”
The annual CEIR Index measures the annual performance of the trade show industry using the year-over-year changes in the four metrics of 14 key industry sectors.
HIL ANDERSON , SENIOR EDITOR