CEIR Index Report: Trade Show Industry Posts 18th Consecutive Quarter of Growth

March 4, 2015

For the 18th quarter in a row, the trade show industry saw an overall uptick in growth in the fourth quarter of last year of 1.7 percent, compared with the same quarter in 2013, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research’s Index Report.

Although the trend still was positive, the growth was lower than the 2.3 percent that had occurred in the third quarter of 2014.

"With the fourth quarter's results and 18 consecutive quarters of growth and our predictions closely matching outcomes, we are confident in the continued growth and progress of the industry," said CEIR's economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., chief economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates.

He added, "Additionally, in line with our expectations as published in the 2014 CEIR Index Report, the Total Index increased by a moderate 1.8 percent for 2014 for the year as a whole, just slightly below the 2.0 percent forecasted growth."

In the fourth quarter, and for the third quarter in a row, the trade show industry’s growth lagged slightly behind the GDP.

All four metrics tracked by CEIR in the fourth quarter saw positive numbers.

The strongest performer was in attendance, which rose 2.6 percent. The number of exhibitors, however, grew only .2 percent. Net square footage grew 2 percent and real revenues grew 2.1 percent. 

Attendance continued its upward trend since the end of the recession in 2009, and in 2014, at 68.7 million, attendance has finally exceeded its previous peak of 68.4 million in 2007.  

There were several shows in the fourth quarter that saw positive attendance gains, including the DEMA Show, with an 8-percent increase; MetroCooking DC, with a 30-percent increase; and PACK EXPO International, with a 6.5-percent increase, to name a few.

CEIR is in the final stages of analyzing the exhibition industry's 2014 overall performance to be released in the upcoming “CEIR Index, an Analysis of the 2014 Exhibition Industry and Future Outlook” in April.

In addition to examining the industry's overall performance, the CEIR Index takes an in-depth look at each of the 14 industry sectors in addition to providing an industry forecast for the next three years.

"Slowly but surely, the exhibition industry is gaining strength," said CEIR President and CEO Brian Casey, CEM. "The CEIR Index and Predict Outlook Conference are great resources that will provide us with more details as to what to expect and how to plan accordingly."

Predict: CEIR's Annual Outlook Conference will be held Sept. 16-17 at the JW Marriott in Chicago, where an expert economist will provide an outlook on the global economy and how the exhibition industry is faring nine months into the year. To apply to attend, visit www.ceir.org/predict

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