Led by a third-quarter drop in Real Revenues of 3 percent, compared with the same quarter in 2016, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research reports that performance of the exhibition industry is down 0.7 percent.
The decrease was a result of 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, according to CEIR.
Excluding the CG and ST sectors, the exhibition industry gained 2.8 percent, compared with a year ago.
“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."
He added, “Even with the negative performance in Q3, the overall Index growth for the first three quarters still achieved a moderate 1.6 percent growth rate. Nonetheless, the exhibition industry lagged U.S. GDP growth of 2.2 percent during the same period.”
All exhibition metrics in the third quarter posted negative year-on-year losses, except Attendance, which gained 3.4 percent.
Real Revenues (nominal revenues adjusted for inflation) posed the largest decline of 3.0 percent whereas Exhibitors and Net Square Feet declined 2.1 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.
The results in the Attendance metric for the third quarter bodes well for the exhibition industry, as Attendance is a leading indicator.
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 percent over a year ago. Our industry is still forecast to grow through year-end.”